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Senator Cornyn’s Immigration Reform Hypocrisy

by Frank Sharry on 02/07/2011 at 3:32pm

Senator John CornynImploring readers to “focus our attention on the president’s actions rather than his words,” Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) recently took to the pages of the San Antonio Express-News to slam President Obama on immigration issues. While doing so, however, he portrayed himself as a tireless supporter of immigration reform.

He even took a not-so-veiled shot at congressional Democrats’ attempts to pass the DREAM Act in 2010, writing, “Unlike some of my colleagues, I don’t believe it’s helpful to introduce an immigration bill that has no chance of passage.”  He went on to claim that his “commitment to fix our broken system has not wavered.”

Say what?  For immigration reform advocates like us, the yawning gap between what Cornyn says and what he does on immigration reform is legendary.  Let’s review the record: 

  • In 2005, when Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) teamed up to turn President George W. Bush’s vision of comprehensive immigration reform into reality, Cornyn said he agreed with the basic elements: strong border security, a crackdown on illegal hiring, an expanded temporary worker program, and a way for those here illegally to earn legal status.  But instead of joining in, Senator Cornyn worked with Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) to introduce a competing and stingier reform bill that had no chance of passing but succeeded in blocking progress on immigration reform throughout 2005.  Perhaps this is when he learned that it’s not “helpful to introduce an immigration bill that has no chance of passage.”

  • In early 2006, and under pressure to do something in response to the infamous enforcement-only Sensenbrenner bill that was approved by the Republican House in late 2005, the Senate Judiciary Committee took up comprehensive immigration reform.  After it moved to the right through negotiations and amendments, the Committee approved it on a bipartisan basis by a margin of 12-6.  Senator Cornyn’s vote?  No.

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