Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are close to striking an immigration deal that will open a pathway to citizenship for up to 11 million undocumented immigrants.
Supporters are hopeful for bipartisan votes on the far reaching immigration bill.
"We are on the verge of a breakthrough," Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said.
For Republican lawmakers, increased security was the deal breaker in supporting a Senate immigration bill.
The emerging deal on the legislation calls for a doubling of the border patrol, including the following:
- 20,000 new agents,
- 18 new unmanned surveillance drones
- 350 miles of new fencing
- An array of fixed and mobile devices to maintain vigilance.
Green cards for undocumented immigrants would not be handed out until the added security is in place. But some GOP lawmakers are skeptical.
"If the legalization happens first, then the border security never will," Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said.
"This bill and the promises surrounding it are full of hollow and ultimately illusory assertions," Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said.
Meanwhile, Ralph Reed, founder and chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, rejects the idea that immigration reform be done for political or electoral reasons.
"If you fix the broken legal immigration system by creating a temporary worker program, by allowing for a pro-family entry system, I'm not talking about chain migration, I'm talking about children and spouses, (then) you won't have as much as much influx of illegal immigration because people will be able to come here legally," Reed said.
A final vote on the legislation is expected by the end of June. The next move would be up to the House, where Republicans are overwhelmingly opposed to provisions that would grant citizenship to immigrants living in the United States illegally.