By a vote of 54-39, the Senate today rejected Sen. John Thune’s amendment to the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill that would have prevented the administration from granting legal status to illegal aliens until at least half, or 350 miles, of a proposed border fence had been constructed. Of the 700 miles of reinforced, double-layer fencing required by the Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, fewer than 40 miles have been constructed. Sounds like a shovel-ready job to us.

Seven Republicans, including Rubio and John McCain, voted with the majority. They broke with Sens. Ted Cruz and Chuck Grassley, among others.

Thune issued a statement following the vote:

Our immigration system is broken and must be fixed. Unfortunately, each time Congress has tried to fix our immigration system, promises to secure our border are never upheld. The completion of the fence required by current law would be a tangible demonstration that Congress and this administration are serious about border security. I am disappointed the Senate missed this important opportunity to communicate to the American people that we are serious about securing our border and enforcing the laws that we pass.

Did anyone believe legislators were serious about securing the border? They certainly don’t now.

Does anyone care to hear Rubio’s explanation for today’s vote? He’s all for building a fence just like the one that should have been built years ago, and that’s why the Gang of Eight’s bill allocates $1.5 billion to be spent on a border fence plan.

I support Senator Thune’s efforts to require completion of double layered border fencing. Properly deployed, these fences have proven highly effective in limiting illegal crossings. That is why the current bill requires $1.5 billion be spent specifically on a border fence plan. However, his amendment does not detail a specific border plan. Therefore, I opposed his amendment and instead continue to work with my Republican colleagues to arrive at a new measure that improves on the significant border security measures already in the bill.