Senator John Cornyn Interview - Part 2 - Immigration Reform, Border Security and Eric Holder
Oftentimes it is the subtle things an elected official does that reveals their true conservative nature. For example, when Republicans like Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Charles Grassley (R-IA), Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and 17 other allegedly conservative senators voted to confirm Eric Holder as Attorney General in 2009, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) helped lead the opposition and voted against Holders confirmation. This year, when the Democrats were pushing immigration reform that did not include measurable and verifiable border security measures, Cornyn introduced an amendment to lock down measurable and verifiable border security measures and when Democrats killed that, he voted against the Gang of 8 immigration bill.
In Part 2 of my interview with Sen. Cornyn, we discussed immigration reform, border security and his stand against Eric Holder and the lawless behavior of President Obama and his Administration.
Illegal border crossings are only one part of our immigration problem. Visa overstays is another gaping hole in our immigration problem accounting for about 40% of the illegal immigrant population.
"I want to see a real solution to that," Cornyn stated, "because weve had nothing but promises that have not been kept, whether its border security or people coming into the country and then overstaying their visas. Thats about 40% of illegal immigration just there, and the Senate bill had no effective plan."
"I couldnt vote for the Senate immigration bill," he explained, "because it threw about $40 billion at the border with no plan at how to effectively implement it or integrate our border security measures."
During this process it was easy to see Democrats were not really serious about border security as part of the process. Amendments by Senators Cornyn and Cruz and others who were attempting to make border security a stronger part of the bill were dismissed with little, if any, serious consideration.
"I think Republicans ought to be the champions of legal immigration," Cornyn concluded, "not illegal immigration. Our Democratic friends seem to want to champion illegal immigration, and thats the wrong road to take."
On the promises of border security from Democrats, Cornyn said, "Thats what I was afraid of. Theyd make another promise that wouldnt be kept and we would have gone down this road giving them, as part of this bill, things that they wanted, when we wouldnt get the most fundamental things like restoring security and rule of law. My friend, Michael McCaul, over in the House of Representatives is doing good work as Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. Were working closely with him. So were not going to ignore this issue. Were going to continue to focus on it."
Of course, the political agenda of the left in regards to border security and the 2nd Amendment has led to other problems. We are approaching the 3rd anniversary of the murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. His death resulted from lawless behavior of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and has been covered up by Eric Holder and the Justice Department. When the political agendas of this Administration blow up in their face as they did in both the Fast & Furious scandal a the Benghazi scandal where four other Americans were killed, Eric Holder seems to have been the common ground of cover-up efforts.
The families of these American heroes deserve answers from the government as to what really happened to their loved ones. Senator Cornyn discussed Eric Holder and what Cornyn is trying to do about this.
"Ive called for Eric Holders resignation," Cornyn began, "because he has completely botched this whole misguided gunrunning effort into the hands of the cartels and actually covered it up. As you know, he claimed executive privilege over a lot of documents that would have told the truth of the Terry family and others, and the president has backed him up, saying he has complete confidence in Eric Holder."
"I think he [President Obama] may be the only one in America whos got confidence in Eric Holder," Cornyn continued. "I certainly dont, and I know right now the claim of executive privilege, the cover-up is being litigated in court, and I think ultimately, we will know the truth. Unfortunately, this president and this attorney general are getting in the way of that, and youre right, we need to know the facts so that the Obama Administration, the attorney general, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms can be held accountable, and the people who lost their loved one, Brian Terrys family, can get some closure and knowing exactly what the facts are."
Recently, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson (an Obama appointee) ruled the U.S. House of Representatives can continue with its contempt of Congress case against Eric Holder related to the Fast & Furious program. Of course, Holder has appealed this ruling to the the D.C. Court of Appeals. Judge Jackson promptly refused to allow the appeal of her ruling at this time.
Sen. Cornyn displayed a little bit of crystal ball insight when it came to Eric Holder and helped lead the charge against Holders confirmation. "One of the best votes I ever cast is a no vote for Eric Holder, " Cornyn proudly stated. "I was worried that he was just a political hack, and we dont need a political hack as attorney general. Theyre supposed to be the chief law enforcement officer of the country. I was Attorney General of Texas, so I have some strong opinions about that, but Eric Holder is just another arm of the political operation in the west wing of the White House, and thats not acceptable."
Republicans in the U.S. Senate are in a difficult place. As the minority party, they must use all of the tools at their disposal to try to maintain input into the legislative and oversight responsibilities of the Senate. Senators have pledged to block President Obamas judicial nominations until he cooperates with House investigations into Fast & Furious and Benghazi.
I asked Sen. Cornyn if this is an effective strategy. "It helps," Cornyn replied. "You can overcome that with 60 votes in the Senate, so it just depends what the lay of the land is. Sometimes it shifts on a daily basis because there are so many different interests, whether its legislation or appointments or other issues. Its a constantly moving target, but I do think that we need to continue to use every tool in our toolbox to get the truth out."
"This Administration," Cornyn continued, "whether its misleading the American people about if you like what you have, you can keep it, whether youre misleading them by saying your premiums are going to go down $2,500 for a family of four, whether its Fast and Furious, whether its Benghazi. Its just been a litany of well, we have to call it what it is, lies, and so far, the President seems to have gotten away with it. I think now, with the failure of Obamacare, were seeing his credibility lie in shambles, and hes not running for reelection again, but the Democrats are in 2014, and the are panicked. They are in a full state of panic, looking for the exit, looking to salvage their chances for reelection, and we need to be smart about how we play this out and not to walk into the trap of the issue ourselves and keep the focus on the presidents failed experiment in big government and all his enablers."
Senators Cornyn and Cruz certainly have different styles and strategies when it comes to how to use the tools afforded to senators in the minority party to enforce their power, but one thing is clear, their methods complement each other and put Texas in a strong position to deliver the conservative message to Washington, D.C. Having a Senator from Texas as the #2 Republican in the Senate is a valuable tool for Texas conservatives as we seek representation our issues in a capitol that doesnt appear to want to listen. It is something that should be looked at and considered strongly by Republican primary voters as we move into this election cycle.
Senator Cornyn is a regular contributor to the pages of TexasGOPVote and has pledged to return for more discussions with you about his role in the Senate and your desires for representation in Washington.