The Senate Gang of Eight’s proposed immigration bill has spun hundreds of amendments. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Senators reach border deal, smoothing path to immigration overhaul

A bipartisan group of senators are expected to announce they have reached an agreement to strengthen border security in the Senate’s immigration bill, a breakthrough that could pave the way for a significant number of GOP senators to support the comprehensive legislation.

Senate aides from both parties tell NBC News that the agreement would double the size of the border patrol and require 700 miles of border fencing. The group has also compromised on a serious of other issues, including the E-Verify program for businesses and benefits.

The senators involved — Republicans John Hoeven and Bob Corker, who have been working with Gang of 8 members Sens. Chuck Schumer, Bob Menendez, John McCain and Lindsey Graham — have dubbed it the “border surge” plan; they’re preparing a Thursday announcement.

“What we’re trying to do is put in place measures that to any reasonable person would be an overwhelming effort to secure our border short of shooting anybody who comes across the border,” Graham told reporters at the Capitol on Wednesday as the agreement was being considered by both Republicans and Democrats.

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