A Teleconference On Illegal Immigration With John Cornyn

I just got off a teleconference about illegal immigration with Senator John Cornyn and fortunately (from my perspective), they changed around the time of the conference and the only two bloggers who showed up were Tim Chapman from Townhall’s Capitol Report and me.

As a general rule, I’m fan of John Cornyn, but I can’t say I agree with his stand on illegal immigration. To his credit, he does not support the bill that came out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. However, his bill allows the illegal immigrants who are already here to stay as guest workers as long as they, at some point, go home and get papers, after which they’ll immediately be allowed back into the United States. To me, this is nothing more than a gimmicky amnesty bill and quite frankly, I oppose it.

That being said, I did appreciate the Senator taking the time to speak with us. As you read the paraphrased run down of the conversation, keep in mind that they’re from my notes, and they ARE NOT exact quotes.

Tim Chapman: What are your constituents saying to you about illegal immigration?

John Cornyn: That they oppose an amnesty for illegal aliens and they’re frustrated by our unwillingness to control our borders.

John Hawkins: If we’re going to do a guest worker program, why can’t it be made up of law abiding citizens waiting in line instead of the illegals who are here today?

John Cornyn: We need guest workers for parts of the economy where they can’t find workers. With my plan, there would be a return requirement. Everyone agrees we can’t locate the illegals. My plan would allow illegals who are here to stay here, but it’s not amnesty.

Tim Chapman: Here’s an inside baseball question. Could we get a clean vote on just a border security bill of the sort that’s in the House or like Frist’s bill?

John Cornyn: It seems doubtful because of the way the Amendment process works in the Senate. He emphasized that before he voted for the current bill, it would have to have some provisions stripped off of it.

John Hawkins: Given that there seems to be very little appetite for immigration enforcement in Washington, even with your bill, aren’t we risking having the illegals still here, remain here, and adding guest workers and more illegal aliens coming here?

John Cornyn: I hope not, but it does depend on enforcing provisions on law. Some people don’t think the enforcement provisions are realistic.

Tim Chapman: Senator, are you concerned, that if we don’t pass the sort of bill you want, are you concerned about repercussions for elections in November?

John Cornyn: He sort of dodged this one. He said it was very complicated and he said there were disagreements among both Republicans and Democrats on how to proceed.

John Hawkins: You said that to make illegal immigration reform work for the future, we’ll need to enforce the laws. What would the problem be with enforcing the law now, which would cause the illegals who are already here to self-deport? Then we could bring in law abiding guest workers from outside the country?

John Cornyn: Cornyn gave the impression that he might be open to this, but doesn’t think it would have a chance of getting through the Senate. Ominously, he then added that he thinks the House is putting security first, but he thinks they’re open to a more comprehensive approach.

And that was it.

Again, thanks to Senator Cornyn for doing that teleconference. It can’t have been easy for him with the two of us tag teaming him.

That being said, this was a depressing press conference. Cornyn didn’t come right out and say it, but he came across to me as more than a little skeptical that Washington has the willpower to execute any enforcement provisions now or in the future. That means that whatever comes out of the Senate, it’s entirely possible we may be right back to square one in another 5-10 years.

Not. Good. News. At. All.

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