Heritage Action urges senators to oppose Cornyn's border-security amendment

The Heritage Foundation has criticized Cornyn’s plan for not guaranteeing border security goals before letting millions of illegal immigrants receive provisional legal status.

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“The conditions that must be certified regarding border security relate only to adjustment of the status of [Registered Provisional Immigrant] aliens to permanent status,” Heritage wrote. “In other words, aliens will still be granted amnesty before the border is secured; they just can’t be upgraded to permanent status.”

Critics of the Senate bill, such as Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), argue that it is unlikely that immigrants who would receive provisional legal status shortly after the bill becomes law will ever be deported.

He said Thursday that RPI status is “de facto permanent legalization”.

“We all know that it will never be taken away,” he said.

Senate Republicans say if Democrats agree to adopt Cornyn’s amendment with some modifications, Cornyn will vote for final passage and likely bring along a large group of GOP colleagues.

He wields significant influence in the GOP conference by virtue of being the second-ranking Republican leader and representing a state with the largest shared border with Mexico. 

Cornyn has picked up the support of more than a dozen Republican colleagues.

The amendment’s cosponsors include Republican Sens. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), John Barrasso (Wyo.), Roy Blunt (Mo.), Richard Burr (N.C.), Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), Mike Crapo (Idaho), Orrin Hatch (Utah) Johnny Isakson (Ga.), Mike Johanns (Neb.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Rob Portman (Ohio) Pat Roberts (Kan.) and Roger Wicker (Miss.).

Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Hatch voted for similar proposals during the Judiciary Committee’s markup of immigration reform.