Washington, DC–Here’s a question. Can we give one person two Lifetime Achievement Awards for Hypocrisy?
Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) already earned his lifetime achievement award from America’s Voice back in 2011 for being the ‘Biggest Hypocrite on Immigration’. His absolutely incredible double speak and uncanny ability to get to ‘no’ on immigration reform was just too rich to pass up.
But now, Sen. Cornyn has blown past his last high water mark for hypocrisy by naming his bill to deport refugee kids the “HUMANE” (Helping Unaccompanied Minors and Alleviating National Emergency) Act. We call it the INHUMANE (It’s Not Helping Unaccompanied Minors and Alleviating National Emergency) Act. And this time, Cornyn’s taking Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) down with him.
The in-HUMANE Act offers an accelerated deportation process for children and a wholesale expansion of border enforcement that treats a humanitarian crisis as an opportunity to escalate activity on the already militarized border.
Sen. Cornyn and Rep. Cuellar’s bill claims to address humanitarian relief but adds no resources for aiding border communities, or families whose loved ones may be lost in the desert. Today, in a statement, immigration champion Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) blasted the Cornyn/Cuellar bill, saying, “Senator Cornyn has led the opposition to every single immigration reform proposal he has ever seen and he is exploiting children, wrapping himself in a thin blanket of feigned compassion, and he has gotten a Democrat to stand with him. This is not the middle ground, this is the deportation-only agenda dressed up in sheep’s clothing. More of the same is not a solution.”
The Cornyn/Cuellar bill is not a solution. Their proposal is simply a maneuver to pressure children to abandon appeals that they are granted under current U.S. law. Children aren’t supposed to be placed in expedited removal, as Cornyn is proposing, because — um, they are CHILDREN!
Add this move to Cornyn’s bag of old dirty tricks on immigration. While calling himself an “immigration reformer,” Senator Cornyn has always found a way to ‘get to no’ on immigration. America’s Voice’s Executive Director, Frank Sharry, has watched Cornyn up close for years. Back in April of 2013, he wrote this:
Unfortunately, Cornyn turned out to be typical politician. All hat and no cattle. As the immigration bill moved to the Senate floor in 2006, he proposed poison pill amendments to weaken support for it. He voted against it, even though 23 other Republicans voted for it. It turned out all that posturing was aimed at undermining, not enacting, reform.
In 2007, Senator Cornyn’s hardline friend, Jon Kyl, decided to fight for reform rather than against it. Kyl engaged in bipartisan negotiations. The bill that emerged was similar to the earlier Cornyn-Kyl bill. President Bush and Senator Kyl fought for it. Senator Cornyn proposed poison pill amendments to weaken support for the bill. He then voted against it.
It was June 28, 2007. The bill negotiated by Kyl to win over Republicans such as Senator Cornyn had just gone down to defeat. And then, none other than Senator Cornyn stood up to give a speech on the Senate floor – about the need to pass immigration reform!
He said, ‘This is a big issue, one that is worthy of the greatest deliberative body in the world — the U.S. Senate — and it is an issue on which I assure each of my colleagues that I intend to do my part to try to solve.’ But we all knew reform would be derailed for years after this defeat, and when Cornyn had his chance to resolve it just moments earlier, he voted no.
Cornyn did the same thing again in 2010. The DREAM Act passed the House and won 55 votes in the Senate in December 2010. But Cornyn was one of the Republicans who opposed it, keeping the bill from the 60 votes needed to end a Republican filibuster and dashing the DREAMs of millions of young people. One month later, at the Hispanic Leadership Network conference, he had the audacity to portray himself as a dedicated supporter of immigration reform.
But what about this year? Isn’t this the year that conservative Republicans are working hard to enact immigration reform that combines border security, employment verification, new family and employment immigration lines, and a way for those here illegally to earn citizenship? Yes it is. Senators such as Marco Rubio and Rand Paul are using their political capital to fight for common sense reform.
And John Cornyn? Up to his old tricks. Despite the bipartisan effort to craft an immigration reform bill, Cornyn is grandstanding with a new, so-called “border security” bill despite the numerous reports showing that the border is more secure than it’s ever been. Another enforcement-only measure that does nothing to actually fix our broken immigration system clearly signals that Cornyn’s ready to derail progress once again.
That’s John Cornyn, the guy who is once again pretending to care about immigrants and refugees while drafting laws to hurt them. He’s the last person anyone should listen to on these issues, but unfortunately Rep. Cuellar seems to see him as a mentor.