Sen. Lamar Alexander voted Thursday against ending debate on an immigration bill, but that vote failed 33-63.
"I voted not to end debate on the immigration bill today because it still needs a lot of work," Tennesee's senior senator said in a prepared statement.
The Senate bill would offer an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants an opportunity to legally gain citizenship. The White House supports the bill that would not grant amnesty, but would help employers.
"The Senate needs to pass a bill that secures our border before it does anything else, and we should keep working on it until we can get it right," Alexander said. "For example, the Senate has not yet considered my amendments to: require the federal government to get the sign-off of border governors that the border is truly secure before doing anything else; make sure that all illegal immigrants go back home and re-enter the country through legal channels if they come back at all, and; ensure that all legal immigrants learn English and American history."