The bipartisan immigration proposal is making its way through the Senate Judiciary Committee.
On Tuesday night, Senators added 300 amendments to the bill, and on Thursday both parties are going head-to-head to see which of these additions will help the bill's passage in Congress.
Immigration reform is a top priority for both parties, but the subject of security is a sticking point for Republicans.
What’s at stake: the Gang of Eight’s delicate compromise forged after months of internal debate
The committee session is expected to last two weeks.
Update at 3:30 p.m. PDT:
The committee reviewed 32 amendments but approved only 19 that only slightly adjusted the proposal. The more extreme amendments did not get added to the proposal.
Some, like Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) amendment to triple the number of Border Patrol to 60,000, were voted down quickly. It led to a brief flareup between Cruz and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY).
"The committee has consistently rejected any attempts to put real teeth in this bill to secure the border," Cruz said.
Schumer responsed “Senator Cruz is opposed to a path to citizenship. That is the division here.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) withdrew her amendment that tried to redefine the border region in order to keep the 24-hour drone surveillance away from major metropolitan areas like Los Angeles.
The committee approved Grassley’s (R-Iowa) amendment prohibiting the U.S. from collecting border-crossing fees.
Other amendments approved included increasing the number of federal judges in southwestern border court districts, and establishing grant programs for improvements at ports of entry.
Update at 10:09 a.m. PDT:
The committee voted 12-6 to strike down a high profile amendment to the immigration reform proposal it is now hearing.
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) wanted the entire border with Mexico to be brought under operational control before starting a path to citizenship. The bill only calls for the three Border Patrol busiest sectors to be brought up to 90 percent control.
Grassley warned the committee, "If we don’t make this very clear, we can have situations where 10 years down the road, we don’t have effective control."
The vote fell along party lines. The committee also voted to kill off a segment of the bill that would have established border crossing fees.
Timeline of hearings through tweets (follow hashtag: #CIRMarkup)
@ChuckSchumer - Coryn
@FronterasDesk - Cornyn 1
@borderreporter - Feinstein
Feinstein amendment reimbursing local LE for immigrant detentions passes 10-8.— Michel Marizco (@borderreporter) May 9, 2013
@tedhesson - Cruz amendment
@borderreporter - Triple
We spent $18 billion last year on border security. Triple that to $54 billion if Cruz got his numbers.— Michel Marizco (@borderreporter) May 9, 2013
@alangomez - Amendment 9
@AmandaBeadle - Amendment 37
@alangomez - Canada
Graham follows up his praise of Canada by saying places in Central America are currently "hell holes." Thus, no fences on northern border.— Alan Gomez (@alangomez) May 9, 2013
@tedhesson - Graham
Graham: "The people coming across the southern border live in hell Holes. They don't like that, they want to come here"— Ted Hesson (@tedhesson) May 9, 2013
@DavidNakamura - Senator
@borderreporter - Cruz
Ted Cruz: Bill contains "toothless metrics." No specifics?— Michel Marizco (@borderreporter) May 9, 2013
@borderreporter - Security
Lots of focus on border security at this morning's Senate Jud. Cmte hearing on immigration reform. Conservatives are just skeptical.— Michel Marizco (@borderreporter) May 9, 2013
@alangomez - Schumer
Drinking game for you all: 1986, rule of law, nation of immigrants, amnesty, basic fairness, no fault of their own, border is not secure— Elise Foley (@elisefoley) May 9, 2013