Senators voted 49-48 to end the program after five years — a move that those who crafted the bipartisan deal said cut out the heart of the bargain.
Earlier this week, the deal suffered another blow when the Senate passed an amendment from Mr. Cornyn that allowed government agencies to share information to make it easier to deport those who apply but are deemed ineligible for legalization.
Also yesterday, the Senate rejected an amendment to make the administration secure the border and prove it is enforcing laws now on the books before giving illegal aliens legal status. The amendment was defeated 54-42.
Among the laws it would have required the president enforce were last year’s law calling for fencing along 700 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border; a mid-1990s law calling for tracking of all visitors through the US-VISIT system; and following through on requiring immigrants’ sponsors to make sure aliens do not become a financial burden on the nation.
As he walked out of the Capitol after last night’s vote, Minority Whip Trent Lott, Mississippi Republican, was critical of some in both parties, saying Mr. Reid pulled the trigger too quickly but also blaming Republicans who he said were never going to vote for a bill.
Throughout the day, he had challenged senators to answer whether they were “mice or men.” As he left he called out to reporters: “We are a bunch of rodents.”
c Jon Ward contributed to this report.
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