John Cornyn on Immigration

Last Updated : Nov 08, 2010

Summary

Senator Cornyn's views on immigration are difficult to discern. He repeatedly asserts that he opposes amnesty, that he supports adherence to the rule of law and cites a need to enforce immigration law. On the other hand, he states that he supports a comprehensive immigration reform plan to bring people "out of the shadows", he states that he supports "family unification," and he refers to people living in the US illegally as "undocumented immigrants." 

In 2003, Senator Cornyn called for a "principled" immigration reform model to allow people to "come out of the shadows" through a guest worker program which he stated was not amnesty, but would give those here illegally a chance to work legally. Later that year, he reasserted his support for the plan and efforts to address the "flawed" US system.

In 2004, when President Bush began to call for an immigration reform plan, Senator Cornyn was supportive. He put forth a plan which created a guest worker program and seasonal visas. The plan allowed anyone here illegally access to the Visas as well. However, by May of that year, Senator Cornyn had become disillusioned with the intent of other Senators and withdrew his support for the reform noting that it did little enforce US laws and would only encourage further illegal immigration.

By 2006, Senator Cornyn had become an opponent to comprehensive immigration reform techniques. He submitted an amendment to the 2006 reform legislation to require that employers ensure that there was not a US worker to fill the role they were hiring for before a Visa was granted to an unskilled immigrant. Senator Cornyn voted against the 2006 / 2007 comprehensive reform efforts.

After the failed efforts for comprehensive reform, Congress attempted to pass one portion of that legislation to grant amnesty to younger illegal immigrants and give them certain education rights above US citizens. This legislation was called the DREAM Act. Senator Cornyn voted against this legislation as well.

In recent years, Senator Cornyn has been an advocate for reducing the mandates that the federal government places on states to care for and educate illegal aliens. He has also advocated for increasing the level of federal reimbursement of such things.

 

Reimbursement of Illegal Alien Health Care

In March of 2003, Senator Cornyn released a press statement noting a recent bill that would provide federal reimbursement of health care provided to illegal aliens. Senator Cornyn refers to those in the country illegally as "undocumented immigrants".

 

Principled Approach to Immigration Reform

In March of 2003, Senator Cornyn called for "principled" immigration reform. He then outlined that plan in a press statement where he noted that amnesty through a guest worker program would allow them to "come out of the shadows" and provide for their families.

 

The Border Security And immigration Reform Act Of 2003

In July of 2003, Senator Cornyn released a press statement noting his support for legislation he introduced to create a guest worker program and provide funding for homeland security items. He refers to the current immigration system as "broken," and refers to illegal immigrants as "undocumented workers."

Days later, Senator Cornyn released another statement supporting the act and again restating that the legislation was not amnesty. He claimed that special interests on both sides were holding the issue hostage.

 

Selective Enforcement of Immigration Laws

In October of 2010, Senator Cornyn issued a press statement noting a letter he had sent to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano asking why so many cases against criminal aliens were being dismissed.

 

Support for Bush Reform

In January of 2004, Senator Cornyn released a press statement noting his support for immigration reform called for by President Bush and claiming that the reform that President Bush desired is the same that he proposed in 2003.

 

Highlights of the Cornyn Plan

In February of 2004, Senator Cornyn issued a press statement noting a speech he gave highlighting his plan for immigration reform.

 

Opposition to Comprehensive Reform

In May of 2004, Senator Cornyn released a press statement noting his opposition to the recently proposed "Comprehensive Immigration Reform" Package. He stated that the bill would do little more than encourage more illegal immigration.

 

Opposition to Amnesty

In March of 2006, Senator Cornyn released two press statements concerning the comprehensive reform bill and his opposition to amnesty provisions within the legislation.

 

 

Amendment to Reform Bill

In September of 2006, Senator Cornyn released a press statement noting an amendment he had put forth to protect the American worker.

 

DHS Rule

In June of 2006, Senator Cornyn released a press statement noting his support for a possible DHS rule to establish a system to allow employers to verify the status of workers. This was thought to be a solution to the flaws of the 1986 legislation would sought to punish employers for hiring illegal aliens but did not provide a method to verify status.

 

Stop Unfunded Mandates for Illegal Aliens

In March of 2007, Senator Cornyn released a press statement noting his belief that states are bearing a large burden by providing health care, education, and other benefits to illegal aliens. He states that it is not fair that the federal government requires the states to provide such things but provide no assistance to states which bear the largest burdens.

 

Opposition to Comprehensive Reform Package

In May of 2007, Senator Cornyn released a press statement noting his opposition to the 2007 Comprehensive Reform Legislation and his belief that the bill was nothing more than amnesty.

Over the next few weeks, Senator Cornyn released a number of statements noting his opposition to the plan and his belief that it was no more than amnesty. He called the bill a recipe for failure, called for law enforcement to be given the tools to enforce immigration laws, and complained about the lack of debate on the legislation.

 

Support for Expanded Reimbursement

In January of 2009, Senator Cornyn released a press statement noting his support or expanded government reimbursement of states for the incarceration of illegal immigrants.

 

MSNBC Appearance

In April of 2009, Senator Cornyn appeared on MSNBC to speak about immigration and the upcoming supreme court nomination.

 

Opening Remarks on Immigration Hearing

 

Remarks on Comprehensive Reform

 

President Calderon Speech

In May of 2010, Senator Cornyn released a press statement noting his feelings on recent statements made by Mexican President Calderon. He noted that Mexico was one of America's best trading partners and that this was due to NAFTA.

 

Official Website Statements

 

Voting Record

Funding for Sanctuary Cities

Sactuary cities are those that allow illegal immigrants to reside within their borders with the understanding that the local government with not seek to determine immigration status or enforce the federal mandates concerning immigration. Senator Vitter put forth an amendment to create a reserve fund to hold money that would normally go to these sanctuary cities. On March 13, 2008, a motion was put forth to "table" or remove the amendment from consideration. Virtually all Democrats, and about 1/4 of the Republicans in office agreed to remove the amendment from consideration in a 58-40 vote. John Cornyn voted against removing the amendment, and therefore opposed the sanctuary city policy.

John Cornyn voted against removing the amendment, and therefore opposed the sanctuary city policy.

The DREAM Act

When the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill failed to pass, several members of congress attempted to achieve the same goal by passing the individual pieces of legislation that comprised the Reform Package. The DREAM Act was one such piece of legislation that grants citizenship to those that came to this country prior to the age of 16. Although the Bill got some support from both Democrats and Republicans, it too failed to pass the Senate in a 52-44 vote. John Cornyn voted against the DREAM Act.

John Cornyn voted against the DREAM Act.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform

In June of 2007, Congress attempted to pass the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007. The bill iteself was a series of smaller pieces of legislation which established the requisites for people living in the US illegally to obtain amnesty. The bill also sought to grant other rights to illegal immigrants prior to and after they become citizens. Despite a massive Public Relations campaign to promote the legislation, the bill got no Republican support and roughly 2/3 of the support of the Democrats. The bill was rejected in the Senate in a 61-34 vote. John Cornyn voted against the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill.

John Cornyn voted against the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill.

The Secure Fence Act

The Secure Fence Act passed the Senate in 2006, and required the director of homeland security to take operational control over certain areas along the border in an effort to cut down on both violence and illegal immigration. The enjoyed broad support and passed the Senate in an 80-19 vote. John Cornyn voted in favor of the Secure Fence Act.

John Cornyn voted in favor of the Secure Fence Act.

Immigration Reform Act of 2006

In 2006, the Senate attempted to pass an immigration reform bill. S 2611 passed the Senate in a 62-36 vote with the support of about 40% of the Republicans and all but 4 Democrats. John Cornyn voted against the Immigration Reform Act of 2006.

John Cornyn voted against the Immigration Reform Act of 2006.

 

Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

Session-110; Bill Number-S 2348; Emergency Border Security Funding Act of 2007 - Prime Sponsor

Directs the President, within two years, to ensure that: (1) operational control of the U.S.-Mexico border will be met; (2) the Border Patrol will have 23,000 full-time agents; (3) specified barriers will be installed along such border; and (4) specified detention capacities will be met. Authorizes appropriations.

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