Senator Cornyn's Symbolic Gesture

What in the world is Senator John Cornyn thinking?  By referring to the border fence legislation as a “symbolic gesture,” he’s certainly accomplished one thing with conservatives.  He’s made us wonder if we can ever trust him again. 

First the House, then the Senate, and finally the President all got on board the idea of actually doing something to enforce our leaky and dangerous borders.  The vote to build 700 miles of border fence passed the House 283-138 and the Senate 80-19.  That’s a landslide.  Even John McCain and Hillary Clinton voted for it — along with Senator Cornyn.

But now, Senator Cornyn tells us that it’s all for show.  The fence will never be built.  He says it’s too expensive and Congress will simply not appropriate the money.  He says this as if we all knew it all along and we’re playing some type of little game.

Conservatives have suspected for some time that Senator Cornyn isn’t on the right side of the illegal immigration issue.  First, he’s a close friend and ally of George W. Bush and is likely under a great deal of pressure from the White House to support Bush’s amnesty program.

Second, his immigration bill authored with Arizona Senator Jon Kyl is named “The Comprehensive Reform Act of 2005” — and as we all know, the word “comprehensive” has been outed as code for amnesty.  True to its name, the Cornyn-Kyl legislation is big on the idea of temporary worker plans.

Writing about his own proposal last year, Cornyn said, “…this bill creates a fair and reasonable process to transition the current undocumented worker population back into the legal flow of immigrants.  Instead of deporting undocumented workers, it allows them up to five years to depart the United States and re-enter through normal, legal channels.”

Since Cornyn wrote those words on the op-ed page of The Dallas Morning News of July 28, 2005, his bill has sunk to the bottom of the pack and legislation from the House has dominated — such as the idea of the border fence.

One reason that Senator Cornyn’s bill failed is his idea that illegals should have a five-year grace period.  That would give them plenty of time to sneak their wives and girlfriends across the border to have babies.  That brings us to the third reason that some conservatives don’t trust him on this issue.  Senator Cornyn, a former judge, believes that the Fourteenth Amendment grants “birthright citizenship” to those babies. 

And now comes his proclamation that the 700-mile border fence will never be built because it’s impractical and Congress will simply never appropriate the money. That has drawn some sharp barbs from organizations like U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo’s Team America PAC whose Bay Buchanan sent an e-mail stating “…the Pharisees would be impressed” and “This duplicity is beyond belief.”

Indeed.  As master of ceremonies at the recent “Rumble at the Ranch” in President Bush’s hometown of Crawford, I defended Senator Cornyn before a multi-ethnic but all-American crowd that was there to demand an enforcement-based immigration policy.  Scattered “boos” peppered the podium at the mention of the Senator’s name.  I thought the crowd was being too hard on Cornyn. 

Now, I’m not sure what Senator Cornyn stands for.  He claims to support border security and worker verification.  But he’s worried that border enforcement such as the fence might cut in to commerce in the Rio Grande Valley and El Paso. 

Essentially, Senator Cornyn has told us that the border fence is not a good idea and that it was passed into law simply for the mid-term elections.  However, we should all realize that Congress and the President are not the least bit serious about it.  It’s all for show.  It’s like a war that a member of Congress might support for political reasons, but then refuse to fund it. 

Senator Cornyn is at least honest enough to inform us that we’ve been lied to.

Apparently it’s all about politics.  So maybe the next time Senator Cornyn is up for re-election, some of us may decide to pull the lever for the other guy.  You might call it a symbolic gesture.