Cornyn Amendment to Immigration Bill Divides Gang of Eight

Cornyn Amendment to Immigration Bill Divides Gang of Eight

Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) has added even more drama to the immigration reform debate with a border security amendment he plans to introduce next week.

The amendment, dubbed the RESULTS amendment (short for “Requiring Enforcement, Security and safety, & Upgrading Legitimate Trade and travel Simultaneously”), is has split the Republicans and the Democrats in the Gang of Eight.

Cornyn’s amendment would require four “triggers” for illegal immigrants to go from Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status to Legal Permanent Resident (LPR), or green card, status. Those triggers are  a) 100 percent “situational awareness” of the border, b) “full operational control” or a 90 percent apprehension rate along the entire border, c) a “biometric exit system,” and d) a “nationwide e-verify system.” People could only take the next step on “the pathway to citizenship” when these criteria have been met using “newly defined security metrics.” 

“Gang of Eight” member Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has publicly embraced the Cornyn amendment. Rubio, who has  faced criticism from conservatives around the country for his advocacy for the bill, promised to vote against it if the border security aspects are not improved. “What he’s asking for, which is a real way to measure border security and hopefully specifics on border security, is something that I think will get this bill where it needs to be,” Rubio said of Cornyn’s amendment, according to Politico.

On the other side of the aisle, Democrats reportedly disagree with the concept of the Cornyn amendment. The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent wrote that Senate Democrats have “privately decided” the Cornyn amendment “is too onerous and is unacceptable to them.” Citing an aide to a Democratic member of the Gang of Eight, Sargent wrote that, “Senate Dems have decided that two key aspects of Cornyn’s amendment–which are designed to create enforcement ‘triggers’ that must be met before the path to citizenship is operative–are unacceptable.”

“In particular,” Sargent wrote, “Cornyn’s demand for at least a 90 percent apprehension rate along the southern border, and the ‘Biometric Exit System’ being fully operational at all air and sea ports of entry, are both unacceptable as triggers for citizenship.”