BY | June 15, 2013

Immigration reform 2013 is taking a toll on many people. Latest news suggest that John Cornyn’s amendment is being condemned as poisonous

The amendment for the Immigration Reform  put forth by the Senator  John Cornyn (R-Texas), has received a lot of flak with many believing that if incorporated, it is capable of bringing down bill altogether with its costly and difficult to reach border security requirements.

It may be noted that the gang of eight bill would allow undocumented immigrants to gain provisional status, which would let them remain in the country legally and work. It would later create a path to citizenship — first a green card, then eventual naturalization — but only if certain border security measures were met to trigger the plan to move forward.

The amendments that have been brought forth by Cornyn would add to those triggers by broadening security requirements. Further, whereas the gang of eight would require 90 percent apprehension of border-crossers and full operational security in high-traffic areas of the border, Cornyn’s amendment would extend those requirements to the entire border. The gang of eight bill includes a pilot program for biometric entry and exit systems in airports, but Cornyn’s amendment requires biometric systems in all airports and seaports before the path to citizenship can open. It would also call for 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents.

Commenting on the suggested amendments, Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), a member of the “gang of eight” that drafted the bill, said: “It’s not possible for us to support [Cornyn's] amendment as it is presently written. It’s a poison pill.”

Also joining the voice of the McCain, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) also calling the amendment a poison pill, said; “It’s simply unworkable.

Introducing the amendment, Senator  John Cornyn (R-Texas) said: “Here’s the bottom line and the reality. Without a border security trigger, immigration reform will be dead on arrival in the House of Representatives. My amendment provides such a trigger, the gang of eight bill does not. … My amendment is essential to moving this legislation forward and to getting an outcome that ultimately will end up on the President’s desk.”

However the senator got impatient when during the debate with the gang of eight members McCain and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the latter called the amednmnet “preposterous” and said that while they were open to other amendments, they resisted this particular one up by Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas).

Maintaining that additional requirements were simply unnecessary,  Republican Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), who represents the border city of El Paso, said that senators from his state  including Cornyn and Senator  Ted Cruz (R-Texas), may not realize that provisions meant to strengthen border security could also hurt the state’s ability to do business with Mexico. He added: “It’s just such a big state that I want to think that Cornyn and Cruz, those senators, have the best of intentions but maybe just don’t understand the dynamic on the border.”

Meanwhile, given the present situation there is a strong possibility that if some sort of amendment on border security is made in the bill, many Republicans might vote in its favour. Senator  Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who had earlier surprised everyone by voting against moving the bill forward, said that he might sign on to the bill if the Cornyn amendment was added.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), said: I don’t consider Cornyn’s amendment a “poison pill,” but doesn’t expect it to be approved as written, either. It’s unlikely that he’ll get his amendment as it is, so what we’re doing now is trying the different areas that we can agree on. I trust Cornyn at his word and would support the bill if his amendment is passed.”


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