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Article posted: 6/12/2013 6:29 PM

Kirk faces heat over immigration vote

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Facing increased heat after voting against further debate of an immigration reform measure, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk reiterated Wednesday that he wants to see increased border security in any proposal he votes for.

"I support a two-step immigration reform that first secures our southern border and then creates a tough but fair path to citizenship for immigrants living illegally in the United States," Kirk said in a statement on his website. "I have always believed that is the recipe for bipartisan consensus on this issue."

"My votes yesterday were a demonstration of this great disappointment," the Highland Park Republican said.

Kirk drew heated criticism Wednesday after joining 14 other GOP senators in voting against further debate on the legislation.

"His vote demonstrates how out of touch he is with his constituents and may cause permanent damage between the Illinois Republican Party and Latino and immigrant voters," Lawrence Benito, CEO of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, said in a statement.

Union labor leaders demonstrated outside of Kirk's Springfield office Wednesday, as well.

Kirk specifically is asking for an amendment from Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn.

"Sen. Cornyn's proposal would do exactly what proponents of the current legislation say they support -- require border security first and then proceed with other reforms," Kirk said.

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