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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio calls border security deal 'dramatic improvement'



Sen. Marco Rubio called an emerging deal to improve border security in the immigration bill a "dramatic improvement," and suggested it could be what carries the bill forward.

"It's a dramatic improvement in border security. It's a major surge in border enforcement," Rubio said on Fox News.

The deal, expected to be formally announced this morning, would add 20,000 more border patrol agents, complete 700 miles of new fencing along the southern border and mandate other enforcement measures are in place before millions of immigrants could apply for green cards.

But like the current version of the bill, legalization would happen soon after passage. That could still be a point of contention for some critics of the bill.

"Clearly there are people that are unhappy about this issue," said Rubio, who was heckled by tea party members at a rally yesterday in Washington. "Listen, I do understand it. I really do. People are frustrated that America is so generous when it comes to immigraiotn and yet people have taken advantage of our laws. They feel like, 'We're a soverign country, every other country protects their border, why can't we'? ... The bottom line is if nothing happens, that frustration, what they're frustrated about, that will stay in place."

The compromise was worked out by a bipartisan group of senators, with the hope of gaining support from more Republicans and a few reluctant Democrats. i

"This is a key moment in the effort to pass this bill," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told reporters Wednesday night. "This is sort of the defining 24 to 36 hours."

[Last modified: Thursday, June 20, 2013 12:19pm]


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