Amnesty is no laughing matter
No sooner had Texas Sen. John Cornyn finished taking bows for delivering 15 Republican votes to pass a bipartisan gun safety bill than he began talking up amnesty.
Cornyn, a Judiciary Committee member, was overheard promoting amnesty with fellow senators and immigration advocates Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.). Cornyn to Padilla: “First guns, now immigration,” meaning amnesty. Very quickly, however, Cornyn backed off, calling his comment a “joke.” Attempting to cover his tracks, Cornyn said, “The Democrats and their allies in the media really can’t take a joke.”
Nevertheless, the takeaway among Republicans is if Cornyn was so quick to cave on the second amendment, and deliver a major legislative victory for the opposition Democrats, more tent-folding, perhaps on amnesty, may not be far away. Because of the pride he took at cooperating with Democrats, Cornyn was roundly booed at the Texas GOP convention.
Skeptics wonder about Cornyn’s immigration and amnesty credibility. Raising doubts regarding Cornyn’s duplicity and providing validity to his amnesty remark is his chummy relationship with Padilla, the former California Secretary of State who Gov. Gavin Newsom named to replace Kamala Harris as U.S. senator. The son of a cook and a house cleaner who migrated to the U.S. from Mexico, Padilla is an avowed immigration expansionist who pledged to work on behalf of aliens to obtain citizenship. Padilla’s self-admitted mission is to make immigration reform “as bold as we can make it.”
The Padilla-Cornyn coziness includes having worked together successfully on a bill which will speed up the admission process by which Afghan interpreters and translators who assisted U.S. troops can enter the U.S. The odd couple also joined up to write a transportation bill seeking to use relief funds for natural disaster cleanup on roads, trails, bridges and transit systems. For true immigration enforcement advocates, Padilla should represent the enemy.
If Cornyn studied immigration history, he’d know that official amnesties, passed by Congress and signed by the sitting president, only encourage more illegal immigration. The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act granted amnesty to about 2.7 million unlawfully present aliens, and promised to resolve a wide range of immigration problems like hiring aliens, and resolving agriculture labor shortages. Today, 36 years later, about 15.5 million illegal immigrants reside in the U.S., one million of them arrived during Biden’s first year in office, and immigration-related issues are more vexing than in 1986.
Immigration reform in 1986 was a colossal failure, yet amnesty is always a primary congressional goal.
Unless Cornyn is living in a vacuum, he must know that under Biden, amnesty is constantly ongoing, although through executive fiat. Thousands of migrants released into the interior have received parole, an immigration benefit that allows aliens to secure work permits. Biden has abused parole – normally issued on a temporary basis to individuals to assist in cases of urgent, humanitarian need.
Under Biden, Temporary Protected Status protections have been granted to or extended for Afghans, Burmese, Cameroonians, Haitians, Somalis, South Sudanese, Ukrainians, Venezuelans and Yemenis. In the aggregate, the Temporary Protected Status population under Biden increased by several hundred thousand foreign nationals. All will receive work permits, and few will ever return home.
At a minimum, whether he was joking or not, Cornyn’s reference to amnesty demonstrated extremely poor judgment. Open borders and illegal immigration have spun out of control under the Democratic White House and Congress. Because of open borders, fentanyl and human trafficking have reached epic proportions, and Americans are deeply concerned about the nation’s future, and overwhelmingly oppose amnesty.
Cornyn’s next re-election bid comes in 2026, enough time for him to wise up to what his constituents’ priorities are. To Texans, many of whose counties declared the border crisis an invasion, amnesty is no joking matter.
Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.