The House Homeland Security Committee approved a $10 billion border security bill late Wednesday on a party-line vote of 18-12.  The full House of Representatives is expected to take it up next week. It is  uncertain whether the House will unite behind the measure. Conservative Republicans attacked the bill saying it could be the first step toward giving legal status to undocumented immigrants. Several also expressed concern that leadership was trying to rally support for the border security bill instead of making a strong stand against recent executive actions by Obama granting relief from deportation to millions.

The bill would require operational control of high-traffic areas of the border within two years and operational control of the full border within five years. The bill defines operational control as stopping or turning back all attempted border crossers, which Democrats said was unrealistic.

The border bill “is a show horse, not a work horse, and as such it is an effort to convince the American people that we are doing something substantive to secure the border when in fact nothing substantive is being done,” said Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL).

“For God’s sakes, if we can’t unite around border security what can we unite around?” said Michael McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

The Obama administration said the bill “would actually leave the border less secure.” In a statement released Thursday night, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said, “The bill sets mandatory and highly prescriptive standards that the Border Patrol itself regards as impossible to achieve, undermines the Department of Homeland Security’s capacity to adapt to emerging threats, and politicizes tactical decisions.” Johnson called the bill “unworkable, plain and simple.”

Congressional Democrats said the bill was filled with unrealistic mandates that would make it harder for border agents to do their jobs, while proposing to spend $10 billion on an array of drones, surveillance systems, radar, fencing and other technologies that might do little real good. “It is overly prescriptive and it is impossible, operationally, to succeed,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX). “This bill militarizes the nation.”

A companion version was introduced in the Senate by Ron Johnson (R-WI), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and John Cornyn (R-TX). Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said yesterday he was adding his name as a co-sponsor. McCain, who led efforts on a comprehensive, bipartisan immigration bill that passed the Senate in 2013, said border security must come first.