The Heritage Foundation’s lobbying arm is drawing a line in the sand on Senator John Cornyn’s border-security amendment.
A key-vote notice against the bill obtained by National Review Online highlights a fissure among Republicans on the amendment. Although on paper, it would strengthen the border-security provisions in the bill, many conservatives see it as fatally flawed because the enforcement provisions come after millions of immigrants are granted legal status.
“The amendment does not guarantee any results before the current illegal immigrants transition to Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status, i.e., receive amnesty,” the notice says.
Moreover, the amendment may provide political cover to Senate Republicans to vote for the overall bill, despite not solving the underlying problem with the trigger structure, Heritage Action says in the notice.
The Heritage key vote comes as top Democrats, and some Republican members of the Gang of Eight, are issuing increasingly strident criticisms of the amendment from the left. According to the Hill, Cornyn has signaled a willingness to negotiate changes to the amendment with the Gang of Eight.
Update: A Cornyn spokesman notes that Senators Jeff Sessions, Chuck Grassley, Mike Lee and Ted Cruz voted for a similar border security amendment in committee and that the amendment already has 14 Republican cosponsors, including Senator Mark Kirk, who voted to block the overall bill from coming to the Senate floor.
The full text of the notice is after the jump.
“NO” on Cornyn RESULTS Amendment
Next week, the Senate could vote on the Cornyn RESULTS Amendment to the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act (S.744), also known as the Gang of Eight’s bill. Properly understood, it should be called “NO-RESULTS” because it fails to solve the enforcement problems in the underlying bill.
According to the Heritage Foundation, the amendment does not guarantee any results before the current illegal immigrants transition to Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status, i.e., receive amnesty:
None of these border security conditions that the GAO and DHS would certify (and do we really think they would be objective?) has to be fulfilled before DHS provides RPI status (essentially amnesty) to the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants. The conditions that must be certified regarding border security relate only to adjustment of the status of RPI aliens to permanent residency status. In other words, aliens will still be granted amnesty before the border is secured; they just can’t be upgraded to permanent status.
Sen. Cornyn criticism of the Gang of Eight’s bill (Dallas Morning News, 6/5) is fitting of his amendment:
For starters, its border-security triggers are talking points disguised as policy: Legalization of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States would be activated by meaningless promises rather than concrete results. Haven’t we heard enough of that from Washington?
Remember, the Secretary of Homeland Security has often said our borders “have never been more secure.” Illegal immigration undermines our nation’s ability to protect its borders and preserve its sovereignty – a legalization-first approach (i.e, amnesty) will only make the problem worse. As Heritage explains, Gang of Eight’s legalization-first approach, unchanged by the Cornyn Amendment, would actually drive up the cost of securing the border because it “creates an incentive for illegal border crossings and overstays.”
Finally, if adopted, multiple Senators have indicated the amendment would serve as will serve as political cover for them to justify their support for the Gang of Eight’s amnesty.
Heritage Action opposes the Cornyn RESULTS Amendment and will include it as a key vote on our legislative scorecard.