Cornyn got to that number because he said that the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act authorizes $8.3 billion for border security measures and that an amendmentfrom Sens. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) would add another $30 billion to hire 20,000 new border patrol agents.
Cornyn added that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated implementing the bill would cost $22 billion.
“Seems to me they’re throwing more money at the problem without any real accountability,” Cornyn said.
The bipartisan group of eight senators, known as the Gang of Eight, introduced S. 744, which would create a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country, toughen border security, create a guest-worker program and boost high-skilled immigration.
On Tuesday, the CBO estimated that the bill would reduce the deficit by $197 billion in the first 10 years and another $700 billion during the next decade. But Cornyn said most of that money is designated for the Social Security Trust Fund so if it’s used for border security, it would have to be repaid at a later date.
Earlier Thursday, the Senate killed Cornyn’s border security amendment. He said the bill and Hoeven-Corker amendment is full of promises to secure the border without mandating any triggers before people are granted legal status.
The Senate is expected to pass the immigration bill next week. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said the bill needs to be complete before the July 4 recess.