The U.S. Senate has begun debate of immigration reform legislation billed by President Obama as bipartisan, fair and common-sense.

Senator Roy Blunt (R-Missouri)

Senator Roy Blunt (R-Missouri)

Missouri Senator Roy Blunt (R) says he feels there are three issues with immigration.

“One is securing the border, two is what are the legitimate workforce needs of the country and how do you meet those workforce needs and three is what do you do with people who came to the country illegally or stayed illegally. My view continues to be that the American people will deal with two and three in a very responsible way if they think the government has figured out how to deal with 1.”

Blunt acknowledges that border security has improved now than it was five years ago, but says it can be tighter.

“I believe that the total awareness of the border … 100 percent awareness of what’s happening at the border … is possible, and we’re not there yet. Once you get to 100 percent awareness, what is the reasonable number of operational control?”

Blunt says he will co-sponsor an amendment that requires at least 90 percent of everyone crossing the border needs to be stopped. He says he will also sign on to two other amendments.

“I’ll be co-sponsoring an amendment with Senator [Mike] Lee (R-Utah) on completing the border fence and with Senator [Chuck] Grassley (R-Iowa) on how to measure our results of securing the border.”

The main tenants of the legislation will create a “pathway to citizenship” for undocumented immigrants who have a clean criminal record and are employed. The bill would also modernize the legal system governing the immigration process.