TODAY

TODAY   |  June 21, 2013

GOP leaders square off over immigration

Immigration has always been a hot button issue, but it’s now pitting Republican against Republican as politicians including senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham argue over when and how undocumented immigrants could gain legal status and citizenship. NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell reports.

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>> a significant break through in a fight on capitol hill .

>>> immigration reform is the focus again today as lawmakers inch toward a possible agreement in the senate. kelly o'donnell has more for us.

>> reporter: good morning. they worked late into the night write a new version of immigration reform with more border security . democrats want to get something passed with a dozen or more republicans, and that's the hard part. always a hot political issue, but now, immigration is pitting republican versus republican. one fight is over when and how undocumented immigrants, already here, could gain legal status and evenual citizenship.

>> it's an immediate amnesty and legalization and this attempt of enforcement after that. we need to fundamentally reverse that order.

>> the facts are that 11 million people live in the shad dose and they live here in amnesty and by god they are being exploited every single day.

>> another fight is over border security . a new senate proposal intended to win over more republican votes would build more border fence and deemploy another 20,000 border agents.

>> if you hire the border patrol agents and put them on a border they're not going to read a comic book . they're going to do their job. you don't need to prove to me they're going to do their job. you just need to get them on the border so they can.

>> people tell me they don't trust the federal government when it comes to securing our boarders. and why would they?

>> reporter: there is more work to do. backers of the plan say they will also tighten retrants on visas and electronics. all of this will be voted on next week.