Rand Paul: Rubio blocked my border security amendment

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is blaming his Republican presidential rival, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), for blocking a border security amendment to an immigration bill two years ago.

Appearing at the Florida Republican Party’s Sunshine Summit in Orlando on Saturday, Paul said Friday’s attacks in Paris prove the need for better border security and enhanced monitoring of immigration and foreign visitors.

He said he tried to attach an amendment to a bipartisan immigration bill in 2013 doing just that, but the bill’s sponsors, led by Rubio and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), blocked it.

“We let our guard down, but when I introduced my amendment to the immigration bill, unfortunately I got some opposition. Your senator, in fact, opposed me on this,” he told the crowd.

“I tried to pass something that I think was a conservative proposition to the immigration bill, that would have more scrutiny for refugees, for visitors, for students.”

Paul’s “trust but verify” amendment would have required Congress to vote on whether the border was sufficiently secure before allowing increased immigration. It would required the completion of a border fence and created a national identification card system for citizens.

The amendment hit the floor during Senate deliberations on the immigration bill in 2013, but senators voted 61-37 to table the provision. Rubio, and the other Republican members of the “Gang of Eight” that crafted the bill, voted against the measure.

“I think one of the lessons we should learn from the tragedy in Paris is that we have to be very careful, and very cautious — extraordinarily cautious — about who comes to visit, who immigrates here and who studies here,” Paul said.

Devin Henry