Wednesday, June 19, 2013 | 3:35 p.m.
The Senate voted overwhelmingly to approve Nevada as an additional member to the immigration bill’s Southern Border Security Commission, despite the fact that the Silver State doesn’t actually share a border with Mexico.
The Senate voted 89 to 9 Wednesday to approve Sen. Dean Heller’s amendment to add an eleventh seat to the commission, specifically for Nevada’s governor or governor’s appointee.
Heller argued that the addition was necessary because Southern Nevada faces the same challenges as border states.
“I hope this commission is never required because, if it is, that means that the border is still insecure five years down the road,” Heller said. “Should it be necessary...it makes no sense to exclude Nevada’s perspective and recommendations.”
While Nevada is not a border state, it is directly linked to the border through Interstate 15, which connects Las Vegas with San Diego, the forthcoming Interstate 11, which will connect Las Vegas to southern Arizona, and the surrounding desert, which is shared by Nevada, California and Arizona.
Las Vegas is also the only major city in a non-border state that is closer to the southern border than many parts of each of the four border states.
The Southern Border Security Commission is made up of two White House appointees, four Congressional appointees, one from every Republican or Democratic Leader in the House and Senate, and five state appointees, from the four border states and Nevada.
Almost all senators from the border states voted for Heller’s amendment. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican, was the only border state senator who voted against it.
Sen. Harry Reid, a cosponsor of Heller’s amendment, voted for it.