With friends like these, who needs enemies? (Emphasis added)
The bipartisan coalition behind a contentious overhaul of immigration laws stuck together on a critical early series of test votes Thursday, turning back challenges from conservative critics as the Senate Judiciary Committee refined legislation to secure the borders and grant eventual citizenship to millions living in the United States illegally.
In a cavernous room packed with lobbyists and immigration activists, the panel rejected numerous moves to impose tougher conditions on border security before immigrants who entered the country illegally could take the first steps along a new pathway toward citizenship.
Republicans Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jeff Flake of Arizona – part of a bipartisan group that helped draft the measure – joined all 10 Democrats in blocking the changes. Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican who has yet to announce a position on the overall legislation, opposed one and supported the others.