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Washington Beat: GOP Lawmakers Push For Tougher Stance On Border Security

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TWC News: Washington Beat: GOP Lawmakers Push For Tougher Stance On Border Security
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The nation's lawmakers this week are expected to make amendments to the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform legislation, though some Republicans are warning that border security could sink the bill. NY1's Washington Bureau reporter Michael Scotto filed the following report.

Border security is a main component of the Senate's immigration bill. But some Republicans warn that the legislation will collapse if more isn't done to keep undocumented immigrants out of the country.

"I'm worried that the bill before us won't pass. It may pass the Senate, it may not pass the House," said Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.

Republican skepticism was on display at a Senate Homeland Security Hearing Tuesday. As it's currently written, the bill would direct billions of dollars to the Department of Homeland Security to beef up border security, with the goal of stopping 90 percent of undocumented immigrants from making it past trouble spots along the southern border.

"The American people want to know the border is controlled, and when we say 90 percent is controlled, they're saying well 10 percent of it isn't," said Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

Republicans say they're skeptical of how the Obama administration defines a secure border, and question whether the extra money will even make a difference.

The Department of Homeland Security, however, insists it has made big security gains in recent years and believes the legislation would give it more tools to keep undocumented immigrants out of the country.

"With the resources and the provisions in the bill, we'll be able to do more of that and the border will be more secure," said DHS representative David Heyman.

The tough line of Republican questioning comes at a critical time. That's because on Thursday lawmakers will begin amending the bill. It's likely that process will be a lengthy one.

It's possible that border security could be used as a potent excuse to block the bill, no matter what promises the Obama administration makes to keep undocumented immigrants from crossing the border.

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