Senator John Cornyn is out with a new Spanish-language ad claiming that he “strongly supports the legalization of Dreamers.” It’s a jaw-dropping claim considering his long record of doing exactly the opposite. On the Senate floor, Cornyn has had numerous opportunities to vote yes. Every time, he’s voted no.
In 2017, Senator Durbin (D-IL), the Senate champion of the Dreamers, sat down with Senator Cornyn and Cornyn’s partner-in-crime, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) to see if they could make common cause. The understanding throughout Congress is that the key to a bipartisan deal is some combination of the Dream Act and border security.
Here’s what Durbin had to say afterward: “First they said, ‘We’re not going to give you the Dream Act, and here are five things we must have that go way beyond border security.’ They wanted to change an international treaty standard for asylum. What?” Durbin said with dramatic effect. “So I sat down with Grassley and Cornyn twice, personally, and said, ‘Let’s be honest. Neither of you have ever voted for an immigration bill and probably never will. I’ve got to sit down and negotiate with people who might vote for this bill.’”
Cornyn’s record when it comes to voting for Dreamers on the Senate floor is clear:
- 2006: Cornyn voted against the McCain-Kennedy immigration reform bill that included Dream Act provisions, despite broad bipartisan support.
- 2007: Cornyn voted against the comprehensive immigration reform bill that included Dream Act provisions even though it was drafted by his partner at the time, Senator John Kyl (R-AZ) and supported by President Bush. Just after helping to defeat the bill, Cornyn had the audacity to deliver a speech on the Senate floor about the need to pass immigration reform.
- 2010: Cornyn voted against the Dream Act in the lame duck session when it fell short by 5 votes, saying, incorrectly, that “this bill still allows illegal immigrants with criminal records to apply and receive benefits.”
- 2013: Cornyn pretended he wanted to get to yes on the Gang of 8 bill that eventually passed the Senate on a bipartisan basis by 68-32. Deploying a cynical strategy of delay, delay, delay, he finally introduced an amendment to S. 744 that was viewed by the bill’s sponsors as cost-prohibitive, logistically improbable, and a “poison pill.” Cornyn ultimately voted ‘no’ on the Senate bill that contained Dream Act provisions.
- In the 2017 and 2018 debate over DACA and Dreamers, Cornyn again tried to scuttle progress for Dreamers.
- On Dec. 5, 2017, the Cornyn-Grassley bill was introduced – a poison pill bill that claimed it was trying to help Dreamers while actually pushing a number of anti-immigrant measures (see Durbin quote above).
- In February 2018, Cornyn endorsed Donald Trump’s extremist and anti-immigrant framework, which received the fewest number of votes among the different Senate bills being discussed and voted upon.
- The Rounds-King-Manchin bill that paired $25 billion in border security with the full Dream Act had the best chance of passing the Senate, despite misgivings from pro-immigrant activists and Democrats that the bill went too far on President Trump’s enforcement agenda. Cornyn still voted ‘no’.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
Sen. Cornyn is all hat and no cattle. He has the Texas-sized gall to say he supports Dreamers when he has voted no every time a bipartisan bill to legalize Dreamers has come to the Senate floor.
This is what we call the ‘Cornyn Con’, working in DC to thwart immigration reform and hoping he can dupe Texas voters — especially Latino voters with lies in campaign ads — to believe otherwise. While he doesn’t use the fiery anti-Latino and anti-immigrant rhetoric of the President, John Cornyn is fully committed to the Trump and Republican agenda of keeping immigrants out, keeping them down and denying undocumented immigrants legal status – even if they came as kids and grew up pledging allegiance to our flag.
If it were not for two-faced politicians like John Cornyn, we would have millions of Dreamers and other immigrants on a path to citizenship. He ought to be ashamed of himself for running such a deceptive ad and broadcasters ought to be ashamed to run it.
According to Mario Carrillo, Campaigns Manager of America’s Voice:
John Cornyn must think Texas voters are just plain stupid; that they haven’t been paying attention to Washington John versus Texas John. Either way, it is a Cornyn con job. His record on immigration, and on legalizing young immigrants, speaks for itself. Being a Texas voter, in a mixed-status family and married to a DACA-recipient, I know damn well that John Cornyn has failed us at every turn.
It’s offensive, if not unsurprising, that he’d lie about his record, in a Spanish-language ad no less, in an effort to court Latino voters whom he’s abandoned each time he’d sided with Donald Trump on immigration. But we know better. John Cornyn is vulnerable and he understands that the American people are against Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda, so instead of actually standing up to him, and actually pushing for legalization for our country’s Dreamers, he’d rather just lie to Texas voters. We’ve seen enough, John Cornyn. As Texans, we deserve better.