A Republican-controlled Congress’s approach to immigration reform would put an emphasis on border security and move forward in a piecemeal fashion, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) told the The Dallas Morning News editorial board in a filmed interview.
“Is a Republican-controlled Congress going to pass a quick pathway to citizenship? No,” Cornyn said. “But would there be an opportunity to vote on — once border security was addressed, once the visa overstay problem was addressed, and the E-Verify System put in place, is there a way then to look at how do we provide some opportunity for people to earn a legal status so that they can stay and be productive? I think there is.”
Cornyn, the senate minority whip, noted, however, that Democrats have often wanted to move forward with the legalization portion before acting on enforcement, which is something he said will not work.
“Our Democrat friends want to eat dessert before they eat their vegetables on immigration and so I just don’t think that’s going to work,” he explained.
According to Cornyn, the effort will need to move forward in steps but start with border security, given the lack of trust Americans have in the system.
“There’s so many things that really even in the Gang of Eight bill that I think were positive measures,” he said. “Breaking it down into smaller pieces and passing them I think is going to be the only way we can do it. There is so much distrust at the federal government that I think anything comprehensive is going to be viewed as ‘okay this is another exercise in the Affordable Care Act 2,700 pages of law, a lot of unintended consequences.'”
He noted, however, that if President Obama unilaterally acts to expand amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, he will “poison the well” for moving forward with immigration reform.
“I just can’t think of anything that would poison the well more to doing the sort of thing I hope we can do,” he said of Obama’s expected post-election executive amnesty.
House Speaker John Boehner recently used the same language of “poisoning the well” when discussing how Obama’s executive actions might effect the legislative immigration reform effort.
“That would poison the well. And I’ve told the president this directly: if you want to get immigration reform done, and you want to get it right, don’t do things that will poison the well,” Boehner told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos in an unaired portion of his interview on This Week.