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Democrats, You Have a Path to Victory on Immigration. Use It.

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As Senator John Cornyn Re-Ups the “Cornyn Con,” Democrats Cannot Let the GOP’s Performative Bipartisanship Delay and Obstruct a Legislative Breakthrough

Washington, DC – The New York Times reports today that if Republicans drag out and derail immigration reform legislation, Democrats are prepared to use their majority to deliver citizenship via budget reconciliation. 

Luke Broadwater writes, the Plan B strategy is to “legalize millions of undocumented immigrants should bipartisan talks on providing a pathway to citizenship fall apart…The move would allow the measures to pass the evenly divided Senate with a simple majority of 51 votes, shielding them from a filibuster and the 60-vote threshold for moving past one, which would otherwise require at least 10 Republican votes.”

Mark us down as supporters of Plan B. 

Here’s why. The lead negotiator for Senate Republicans is Senator John Cornyn (R-TX). For almost twenty years, we have watched and learned how Cornyn operates on immigration reform. He pretends he wants reform on his way to scuttling reform. He positions himself to ignite hope, attract positive press, and get close to the available deal space; and then he pulls the rug out on Democrats so he can blame them. 

Every time. It’s kinda his thing.

The same Times story includes a quote from Cornyn that should blow up any notion of a bipartisan deal that would deliver citizenship for millions: “Before we can do anything meaningful on immigration, we’re going to have to deal with the current crisis at the border. I don’t think the public is going to tolerate us ignoring this crisis, and it’s just going to get worse unless we deal with it.” He’s used the same excuse in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, and 2013. After dragging out negotiations as long as he can, this will be his excuse for scuttling the deal and blaming Democrats.

This is classic John Cornyn. His lips say yes, yes, yes, and his actions say no, no, no. It’s so typical of Cornyn that we have dubbed it the “Cornyn Con” (see the linked post to see the receipts). 

Pew polling released yesterday reminds us that the American public are with us. The public  overwhelmingly supports giving undocumented immigrants the opportunity to stay in the United States legally. By a 69-30% margin, Americans back either citizenship (42%) or permanent legal status short of citizenship (additional 26%). The Biden coalition of Democrats and Democratic-leaners are overwhelmingly supportive (86-12%) while Republican/Republican-leaners are split, at a 48-51% margin against legalization.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice: 

Nothing in life is certain except death, taxes, and John Cornyn getting to ‘no’ on immigration reform – especially when it counts. Indulging Sen. Cornyn and honoring his timetable is a legislative death sentence. 

Americans elected a Democratic President and Democratic majorities in both chambers of Congress to do big things, to tackle challenges left unaddressed for too long, and to effect change that people experience in their daily lives. On immigration, this means putting millions of long-settled immigrants on pathways to citizenship. This remains an overwhelmingly popular immigration policy. 

So use your majority, Democrats. Bypass the bad faith Republicans. They will continue to play politics to score points with the Trumpy base. You will be judged by the results you produce. Pass legislation. This is the year. Use every ounce of your power. 

America is ready.