As Texans decide who will challenge Sen. John Cornyn in this November’s election, it’s clear that many in our state are ready to move beyond Cornyn’s long history of cowardice and hypocrisy on immigration, which we call the “Cornyn Con”. Sen. Cornyn will either face veteran M.J. Hegar or State Sen. Royce West after today’s primary runoffs are decided. Either would be a vast improvement on the current Senator. Texans deserve to know Sen. Cornyn’s lack of leadership and failed promises to actually do something about our country’s immigration system.
The “Cornyn Con” Explained
As the senior senator from a state with a Latino majority, Cornyn has had every chance to help Texas families and oppose the 1,200-mile border wall (which would be built on private land and poses a lasting threat to the environment), but has failed.
Latinos in Texas comprise 38 percent of the population, and the state is home to more than 100,000 DACA recipients. The majority of Texas voters support DACA-recipients You would think that Sen. Cornyn would be a major champion for Dreamers and immigrant protections. He’s not.
The “proof is in the pudding,” as they say. Cornyn’s record on immigration — and how he has repeatedly stymied reform despite claiming that he supports it — follows below:
- In 2006-7, during the immigration reform debate, working closely with Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, Cornyn repeatedly introduced poison-pill amendments to undermine any potential for passage. After the bill’s defeat in 2007, thanks in no small part to Cornyn, he had the audacity to deliver a speech on the Senate floor about the need to pass immigration reform.
- In 2010, Cornyn voted against the Dream Act, proving once again that he is unable to “walk the talk” in support of immigration reform or legislation to help Dreamers.
- In January 2011, Cornyn received the “Biggest Hypocrite on Immigration” award by America’s Voice for consistently voting against immigration reform. In an effort to curry favor with the Hispanic Leadership Network Conference, Cornyn reiterated his “commitment to overhauling immigration.”
- In 2013, Cornyn had a chance to pass an immigration reform bill, but he worked to help kill it instead by exercising his pattern of delay, delay, delay and introducing an amendment to S. 744. The Gang of Eight viewed his maneuver as an effort to tank the overhaul, and derided the measure as cost-prohibitive, logistically improbable, and a “poison pill.”
- In Dec. 2017, America’s Voice described the “Cornyn Con” and the process by which Cornyn has been trying to play both sides of the political aisle while helping to sink immigration reform in 2006, 2007 and 2013.
- On Dec. 5, 2017, the Cornyn-Grassley bill was introduced. The bill would create incredibly weak protections for Dreamers in exchange for a host of anti-immigrant provisions that would harm millions.
- On Jan. 3, 2018, Cornyn included a DACA fix paired with a border security package to his list of 2018 priorities. While talking a good con game for supporting the Dream Act, Cornyn continues to turn a deaf ear on more than 80 percent of Americans, including two-thirds of Republicans, who support Dreamers and want them to remain in the U.S. In Texas, an overwhelming majority of Latinos – 89 percent – want passage of the Dream Act. In fact, a Sept. Fox News Poll found 79 percent of Americans overall, and 63 percent of Trump voters, believe DACA Dreamers should be granted citizenship. That’s right — not just legal status but the opportunity to become Americans.
- On Jan. 11, 2018, America’s Voice warned that Cornyn was becoming a major obstacle to enacting a bipartisan Dreamer deal. He continues exerting the “Cornyn Con” by feigning interest in being a good faith negotiator, while continuing his pattern of delaying and derailing, similar to 2006, 2007 and 2013.
- In February 2018, Cornyn endorsed Donald Trump’s extremist and anti-immigrant framework, which has not received support from either Democrats or moderate Republicans. Since the framework would cut legal immigration, turn women and children seeking asylum away at the border, increase deportations, and is considered dead on arrival, Cornyn clearly does not intend to further real immigration reform efforts by supporting it.
- He also claimed that Republicans “offered the sun and the moon and that wasn’t enough” for Democrats on DACA — a laughable idea considering that Senate Republicans were the ones who didn’t vote for February amendments that could have protected Dreamers.
Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, said: “I’ve watched John Cornyn’s career up close for decades. On immigration, there is no bigger hypocrite. In the state, Cornyn conveys the idea that he’s working for solutions, when nothing could be further from the truth. In D.C., Cornyn has done everything he can to block and undermine any kind of reform. This year, Cornyn will be under a microscope like never before. His appalling immigration record needs to be part of that. We’ll do everything we can to make sure Texans know about the Cornyn Con.”
Mario Carrillo, Texas-based Campaigns Manager of America’s Voice, said: “For too long, John Cornyn has failed to represent Texans when it comes to immigration. Sen. Cornyn has talked a good game, going so far as to say that DACA-recipients deserve to stay in the only country they know, but his actions don’t match his messages. He’s voted against the Dream Act every chance he’s had and voted against a bipartisan bill in 2013 that would have provided citizenship to millions, including many hard working immigrants who have lived here in Texas for decades. The property of Texas families is being taken to build Trump’s wall and Trump’s vile family detention and family separation policies are playing in Texas family jail facilities. We deserve a Senator who will stand with all Texans, regardless of where they were born. John Cornyn isn’t it.”