Senator Heller voices his support for immigration reform legislation
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It's been a long time coming for Senator Heller. He's hinted at his support of the legislation for the past week, ever since he co-sponsored a sweeping border security amendment. That finally passed Monday in a 67-27 vote, and many said it was only a matter of time until Heller came out officially in favor of the entire bill.
In his speech, Heller ran through the many changes that his amendment makes to border security. That includes doubling the number of border patrol agents to about 40,000, adding 350 miles of fence along the border, and investing in surveillance equipment like drones. He said now that those have been addressed, he can lend his support to the bill.
"Republicans can do so and still stay true to their conservative principals."
Then, in a slightly unexpected turn, Heller refuted the suggestions of that his recent support of immigration was not genuine.
"Some reporters in Nevada like to harp on the fact that my actions to work with Republicans and Democrats have been politically motivated...Bottom line: the easy thing to do politically is nothing. The harder choice is to govern."
Doing nothing, Heller also said, would amount to de-facto amnesty for the 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally. Heller is one of only a handful of republican Senators who have come out in favor of the legislation. Heller's counterpart Senator Harry Reid has previously said that he hopes to have a vote on the bill by the end of this week.
Some additional notes: last week, other amendments introduced by Senator Heller into the bill included adding Nevada onto the Southern Border Security Commission and getting Las Vegas onto an airport security bill that's supposed to reduce wait times.