Corker-Hoeven 'Border Security' Deal a Fig Leaf for Amnesty

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Immigration Bill

The so-called “compromise” on border security that the “Gang of Eight” has reportedly reached with Sens. John Hoeven (R-ND) and Bob Corker (R-TN) is a sham meant to give political cover to Republicans who want to vote for amnesty but cannot be seen opposing border security. Throughout this entire process, that has always been the worry: Republicans will cave for some watered-down, but still bad, amnesty bill.

Many proponents of trying to force an amnesty bill to passage, just so they can say they passed a bill they describe as "immigration reform" as part of a larger effort to pander to the Hispanic community, keep changing the goalposts of what is acceptable, what is not, what is good and what is bad. Their actions and statements show the policy does not matter to them; they are simply interested in passing a piece of legislation so they can politically say they accomplished something. For example, when the bill originally came out, Rubio described it as the toughest border security plan in world history. Now, he says the bill is not good for border security at all. Most of the actions of the members of the Gang of Eight and the senators working with them are dictated solely in response to public outcry about the big government machinations in the bill.

Critics believe the fundamental flaw with the Gang of Eight bill is that it grants legalization, or amnesty, to America's at least 11 million illegal aliens before securing the border. It has no guarantees of border security, just a promise. Some compare it to Republicans in tax fights with Democrats: Amnesty with a promise of future border security is just like tax increases with promises of future spending cuts, they say. The part of either of those fights conservatives want will never happen unless it is a prerequisite to the part liberals wants.

The Gang of Eight was strolling along, hoping for a vote whereby somewhere between the minimum 60 and 70 or so senators would support it before the Fourth of July. But conservative and grassroots opposition--and even opposition from some liberals like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)--started taking hold.

As with what happened during the gun control push by Senate Democrats, which eventually crumbled, reports continue surfacing now that the largely-contrived momentum is dying quickly. On Wednesday, for instance, thousands of Tea Partiers rallied in force against the Gang of Eight on Capitol Hill, and held no punches for even their once hero Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). As The Hill's Alex Bolton reported, that bled GOP votes away from this bill--further jeopardizing its already questionable chances at passage. In the face of the surging opposition, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid promised to try to bring the full bill up for a floor vote sometime early next week (with a potential cloture vote as early as Friday of this week). At the Tea Party rally on Thursday, Rep. Michele Bachmann vowed "Harry Reid will not succeed" because the Tea Party is rising up to stop him.

Originally, despite whether or not this was the intent of the senator offering the amendment, an amendment from Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) was being used by Sens. Rubio and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) among others as a way to try to quick fix the bill. Cornyn's "RESULTS" amendment does not fix the fundamental border security flaws in the bill, but does add a real border security "trigger" along the pathway to citizenship in that it prevents amnestied, or legalized, illegal immigrants from getting green cards and citizenship until certain border metrics are met. Sources close to the battle argue the Democrats could have lived with the Cornyn amendment though, if it were not for the other things it does: prevents convicted criminal illegal aliens like drunk drivers and domestic abusers from being allowed to stay in this country.

So, because Cornyn's amendment kicks out criminals even though it does not actually secure the border, thereby blowing up the plans by amnesty proponents to use it as the quick fix in this play, they began searching for another political cover amendment so Republicans who want to support amnesty can do so while trying to claim they do not oppose border security. The alliance between the Gang of Eight and Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and John Hoeven (R-SD) was born.

Corker-Hoeven, as it's called, was going to be the new quick fix that is nothing more than a political cover amendment that does not address the bill's fundamental flaws. Then, all of a sudden as though it appeared to be a giant surprise that came out of nowhere to save the day, initial reports of the "compromise" that still does not address the fundamental flaws of the bill began seeping out Wednesday night. By Thursday, the Gang of Eight and Senate Democratic leadership had stories praising the "compromise" all over the mainstream media.

ABC News reported Thursday morning that the Gang of Eight “has reached an agreement to strengthen border security provisions in their bill that they hope will deliver the 70 crucial votes needed for the measure.” However, the Associated Press reports the agreement is still not border security before amnesty for illegal immigrants, but may give off the impression it is partially better thereby giving Republicans and some Democrats who oppose the amnesty plan as is the cover to vote for the bill.

So, the "compromise" does not fix any of the fundamental flaws in the bill: it is still legalization first, security later, as Sens. Rubio and Chuck Schumer (D-NY)  have promised ever since the bill came out (even though the original framework for their immigration reform plan released said it was the other way around).

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) National Council president Chris Crane wrote to Hoeven and Corker on Thursday morning expressing his disgust with their plan. “I am concerned that your amendment as outlined in that article not only provides immediate legalization before enforcement, but also appears to completely neglect interior enforcement,” Crane wrote to the two senators working on this amendment quick-fix. “S. 744 drastically reduces the ability of ICE officers to do their jobs while providing legal status to convicted criminals including gang members, drunk drivers, and sex offenders. I can assure you these are not the types of “reforms” sought by the American public, in fact these are not reforms at all, but instead provisions written by special interest groups concerned only with their own political agendas and future financial gains.”

Senate aides have confirmed this ploy revolving around the Corker-Hoeven amendment to Breitbart News. Many close to the immigration battle have confirmed this amendment is like the “Toomey-Manchin compromise” during the gun control fight; meaning many on Capitol Hill believe such a move, in the gun control, immigration or any other fight, is a ploy meant to give to political cover even though the opposition is surging toward a bold political and policy victory.

"Proponents of the bill have shown they can't sell the bill without lying about what's in it,” a Republican Senate aide told Breitbart News. “Now that most of the lies have been exposed, the strategy is to pretend to fix all the problems in the bill with a new magical compromise amendment. The talking points will come out days before anyone gets to see actual legislative text so that the media will sell it while no one has the opportunity to see what it really says. And once we finally see it, we'll be lucky to have a few hours to read it before senators vote. We saw this with the fiscal cliff, Toomey-Manchin and other terrible bills the Washington Establishment wants to pass. This is the new 'regular order.'"

Another aide, from a different office, added: “Word is this they’ll try to make this the new Toomey-Manchin of the immigration bill. But given the recent uprising of the American people – who overwhelmingly want enforcement to precede, not follow, legalization – it’s uncertain whether the scheme will succeed.”

In gun control, the compromise scheme did not work. The Left’s push for gun control fell apart entirely, and Toomey-Manchin did not succeed. The question heading into later this week and early next week is whether the Corker-Hoeven trick will work.


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