Cornyn, Cuellar: Bipartisan Solution Will Restore Border Order

Sunday, 27 Jul 2014 03:59 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Republican Sen. John Cornyn said it seems as if the House of Representatives will pass legislation to offer a solution to the ongoing border crisis, and it appears it will be "something along the lines" that he has proposed with a fellow Texas lawmaker, Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar.

The two Texans appeared on ABC's "This Week" together Sunday, telling host Jonathan Karl that they have come up with a bipartisan approach that includes changes to a 2008 law that prohibits the United States from quickly deporting migrants who come from lands other than Mexico and Canada.

"Fortunately it sounds like the House of Representatives is going to move a piece of legislation this week, which would actually offer a solution," said Cornyn said. But he's still worried because in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., opposes the House proposal.

"But, my view is a solution beats no solution every day," said Cornyn. "And nobody has offered an alternative, so I hope we will act."

Cornyn expects the House to pass a "skinnied down" bill that does not allow for President Barack Obama's whole request for more than $3 billion to be approved.

Cuellar admitted that the approach differs from what other Democrats want, but "the American public wants us to have an orderly border. Right now, they're not seeing that."

In addition, he said, Obama himself on June 30 sent a letter asking for "money and a policy change," and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has "done a real good job" and "has been steady among all this political pressure and he's stayed on. So there are other Democrats that do support this."

However, Democratic leaders like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., do not back the House plan, even though it's what Obama initially requested.

"I represent the district," said Cuellar. "I don't just go down there once in a while and see
what's going on. I live there."

Out of 58,000 unaccompanied minors crossing the border, Cuellar said, 58,000 have come through his district, "so we're at the epicenter. And we've been working with the men and women at the border patrol, the folks in the community have been dealing with this on a day to day basis. We need the resources and we also need a policy change."

Meanwhile, Cuellar said, the flow of children crossing the border has been cut about in half over the past couple of weeks.

"We do know that it has slowed down, but we don't know if it's because of all the work that we've been doing with Mexico and Central America, or is that it's seasonal," Cuellar said.
"Right now you hit in the very 100 plus degree weather. And if you look at the history of people coming across, there are peaks and there are lows."

There has been a proposal, backed by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to allow people from Central American countries such as Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador to screen children at the consulate level and then send them north legally.

Cornyn said the refugee system is already standard, but in this case, it won't stop the "business model" created by cartels to get around the 2008 law, he said.

"This is making them a lot of money," he said. "And it's subjecting these children and other immigrants to horrific conditions as they travel from Central America to south Texas."

Central Americans know Obama has said the vast majority of the migrants will not be able to stay in the United States, but "we simply have now no consequences associated with coming into the country outside of our legal system," said Cornyn.

"And we need to return to that," he insisted "That's why this bipartisan bicameral legislation that Henry and I have offered offers the only real solution."

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