Senate passage of the Schumer-Rubio immigration bill is looking like far less of a sure thing after Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Senate Democrats voted down an amendment yesterday that would have secured the border first before granting illegal immigrants citizenship.

For those paying attention to the immigration debate, the legalization-first-border-security-later structure of the Schumer-Rubio bill has never been in question. Just last Sunday, Rubio told Univision, “Let’s be clear. Nobody is talking about preventing the legalization. The legalization is going to happen. … First comes the legalization. Then come the measures to secure the border.”

A fiction exposed
But many conservative defenders of Rubio were under the impression the order was the other way around. Yesterday’s security-first amendment, sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, exposed that fiction. Rubio was then forced to make-up a brand new argument for why legalization must come first, telling radio host Andrea Tantaros that the federal government needed the fines from amnestied immigrants in order to pay for border security.

“If we don’t get that fine money from the people that have violated our immigration laws, then the American taxpayer is going to have to pay for border security,” Rubio said. Rubio failed to explain if American taxpayers would therefore also require new waves of illegal immigrants to pay for border security in the future.

Votes still needed
Rubio’s excuses aside, yesterday’s vote also showed that support for Schumer-Rubio’s final passage is far lower than the 80-plus votes the bill received on the motion to proceed to debate. Forty-three Senators voted for the Grassley amendment yesterday, including two Democrats: Sens. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and Joe Manchin, D-W.V.

That means Rubio and his Democratic allies are still three votes short of the 60 they need for final passage. And the search for them was going so badly yesterday that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., halted debate and sent everyone home for the weekend.

That’s not a good sign for Schumer-Rubio proponents.

From The Washington Examiner
Editorial: Metadata helps find terrorists — and Obama voters
Byron York: Rubio says we need to legalize immigrants so they can pay for border security
Phil Klein: Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer rams through Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion
Sean Higgins: Republicans seek to rollback NLRB ‘micro unions’ ruling
Tim Carney: The fine tradition of the IRS
Michael Barone: For Obama, some religions are more equal than others
Ron Arnold: Meet the little nobody from Texas with big power at EPA
J. Christian Adams and Hans A. von Spakovsky: A culture of lawlessness prevails in Eric Holder’s Justice Department

In Other News
The New York Times, Syria Has Used Chemical Arms on Rebels: American and European intelligence analysts now believe that President Bashar al-Assad’s troops have used chemical weapons against rebel forces in the civil war in Syria.
The New York Times, U.S. to Send Weapons to Syrian Rebels: The Obama administration, concluding that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against the rebels, will begin supplying the opposition for the first time with small arms and ammunition.
The Washington Post, Major resources needed for Obama Africa trip: President Obama will travel to sub-Saharan Africa and the price tag for the trip clocks in between $60 million to $100 million.
Bloomberg, Obama Tells Keystone Foes He Will Unveil Climate Measures: With his administration under pressure from environmentalists to reject the Keystone XL pipeline project, President Barack Obama plans to unveil a package of separate actions next month focused on curbing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
The Wall Street Journal, Refinancings Plunge as Bond Yields Rise: A surprise spike in mortgage rates threatens to halt a refinancing boom that has delivered strong profits for U.S. banks over the past two years.

Lefty Playbook
The Center for American Progress released a new economic agenda called 300 Million Engines of Growth: A Middle-Out Plan for Jobs, Business, and a Growing Economy
Think Progress attacks Marco Rubio for saying it should be legal to fire gay people.
Jamelle Bouie says Democrats will cast Republicans as bigots if immigration reform fails.
Rich Yeselson on the future of private-sector unions in America.

Righty Playbook
Mickey Kaus reports that Cornyn’s ban on amnesty for illegal immigrants with DUIs is the real reason Democrats oppose his amendment.
Jonathan Strong reports that, contra John Boehner, House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte is in no rush to finish immigration reform.
Heritage Action challenges Paul Ryan to a debate on whether Schumer-Rubio is amnesty.
Mark Krikorian lists all the ways the Judiciary Committee made Schumer-Rubio’s border security measures weaker.
John McCormack forces Nancy Pelosi to try and explain the difference between Gosnell slayings and late-term abortions.