Anti-amnesty group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) says that Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn’s new immigration bill with his Texas colleague Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar doesn’t fix the 2008 human trafficking law it purports to fix.
“Last night we just discovered language hidden in the bill stipulating all illegal alien minors who have entered the U.S. since January of last year can file a motion to have their final order of removal expunged and then gives them an opportunity to reapply,” FAIR communications director Bob Dane told Breitbart News. “That means 80,000 or more Central American kids get a second bite of the apple.”
Dane points to section 103 of the bill, the text of which was introduced by Cornyn and Cuellar on Tuesday evening.
On pages 16 through 19 of the 50-page bill, Dane from FAIR says, section 103 details how any “illegal alien minor from Central America, who entered within the last year and a half” can “file a motion to get either his notice to appear or final order of removal expunged.”
“The bill then allows the illegal alien minors to immediately apply for admission to the U.S. – without going home and without any penalties,” Dane said in an email.
Dane said this is “simply astonishing” and that folks can “call it amnesty if you wish.”
“It’s certainly a middle finger to every immigration judge that has issued a removal order for the past year and a half,” Dane said.
Cornyn’s office has not responded to a request for comment in response to Breitbart News’ request for comment in response to FAIR’s comments.
Cornyn has sold his and Cuellar’s bill as a solution to the 2008 anti-human trafficking law many have attributed to the problem. “Our proposal would improve the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2008, treating all unaccompanied minors equally and ensuring Due Process under the law in a timely, fair manner,” Cornyn, who voted against the Gang of Eight bill last year and has usually demonstrated a fairly strong anti-amnesty record, said in a statement about the bill he and Cueller introduced Tuesday.
While the 2008 law has dominated discussions about legislative remedies to the border crisis, in which 57,000 unaccompanied children have been smuggled into the U.S. so far this year resulting in frequent abuse and a significant number of deaths, many immigration hawks say the 2008 law is a red herring distraction from the larger cause of the majority of these problems: President Obama’s widespread rejection of enforcement of American immigration laws.
Tuesday evening, Numbers USA director of government relations, Rosemary Jenks, warned that Cornyn’s plan could open up the Congress to the entire Gang of Eight bill again via a conference committee. “Cornyn, like so many other Republicans, has been distracted by this shiny object, which is the 2008 anti-trafficking law,” Jenks added in a phone interview. “It is just ridiculous to assume that changing this law that affects less than 20 percent of all the illegals coming across the border right now is going to fix the problem.”
On Wednesday morning, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) published a new report arguing that the 2008 law is inapplicable to the current crisis at the border as pushed by the Obama administration and certain members of Congress.
But Cornyn is moving on his bill, and House Republicans–at the direction of a working group created by Speaker John Boehner–are moving on theirs, too. The House bill could be introduced by the end of the week and voted on as early as next week.
That’s a pathway that Jenks warns could open up the entire Gang of Eight bill again. “If it goes through the House first, it will be conferenced in the Senate,” Jenks told Breitbart News. “Think about what that means. I cannot imagine why people don’t get this. McCain and Graham and Schumer are talking in the pages of The New York Times about how they will attach part or all of their bill to whatever comes through on this. … This is why the whole idea that you can do targeted policy changes is ludicrous.”
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the Congress’ leading immigration hawk, asserted that Congress should focus its efforts, not on the 2008 law, but on the President’s executive actions on immigration, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) plan.
“Certainly, DACA and the President’s other numerous unlawful policies must be terminated,” Sessions wrote in a letter his office hand-delivered to every member of Congress on Monday. “But as a first step, Congress must not acquiesce to spending more taxpayer dollars until the President unequivocally rescinds his threat of more illegal executive action.”
Cornyn spokeswoman Megan Mitchell provided the following comment in response to FAIR’s comments after publication:
There is not hidden language in our bill. It is up on our website for FAIR, you and anyone else to read. The provision in which you mention is designed to address children who were issued a notice to appear before this bill will go into law. As you know, many are issued a notice to appear and never show up. I think FAIR would agree that we cannot count on the Obama Administration to bring these children to court. Once in court they will receive a hearing that will likely result in their removal as opposed to staying in the country with a deportation notice that will not be enforced. Again, this is about solving a problem. People can criticize and watch the problem get worse or they can do something to address the problem. We choose to address the problem.