Corker: If Bill Says ‘Immigration Reform,’ Some Senators ‘Won't Support It’

By Curtis Houck | June 24, 2013 | 6:17 PM EDT

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)

( -- On the Senate floor on Monday, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said that some members of the Senate would not support immigration legislation "no matter what it says” if its title in any way relates to "immigration reform."

"I realize, that no matter what this bill says, no matter what it says, as long as the title of it relates to immigration reform, there are going to be people in this body that won't support it," said Corker.

Corker was speaking during debate on the Senate floor prior to a cloture vote to move forward on an amendment that he and Senator John Hoeven (R-N.D.) proposed to add to the "Gang of 8" immigration bill, which they believe would alleviate the border-security concerns of some Republicans hesitant to support the bill.

After discussing the process in which the bill has come together, Corker said, "The fact is that we, in this body, generally speaking, have worked together to try and come up with a piece of legislation that meets the balance. This amendment to me adds that component that meets the balance."

“I know some people on my side of the aisle would criticize, because they would say, ‘Well, you worked with the other side of the aisle to make this happen,’” said Corker.  “Mr. President, I think that’s what we all came here to do. The president, I know, is an independent, I know came here to do it because without working with Republicans and Democrats, he couldn’t get anything done.”

The Corker-Hoeven amendment, also sponsored by Sen. Churck Schumer (D-N.Y.), potentially would increase the number of U.S. border patrol agents to 40,000 and boost electronic surveillance with drones and cameras, although the new agents would not be hired until after 2017. The legislation also theoretically would require the building of more actual border fence along the border.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) was critical of the amendment, saying it “creates an automatic amnesty for future illegal aliens. If you overstay your visa in the future, you can still apply for a green card and become a citizen.”

“It is permanent lawlessness,” Session said. “Joined with existing language that restricts future enforcement, it guarantees unending illegal immigration.”