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Cornyn: No two-party pact for solving border family issue

By Chris Moore



U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said he does not believe there can be a bipartisan effort to solve the immigration policy and separation of families at the Mexican border.

“Sadly, I’ve been disappointed too many times in the efforts to fix our broken immigration system,” Cornyn said during a conference call with reporters Wednesday that included The Port Arthur News. “I can only conclude that some people would rather have the status quo and the issue for the next election rather than solve the problem.”

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin and California Sen. Dianne Feinstein are also trying to pass a bill to end the separation of families at the border unless it is in the best interest of the child. Cornyn said he would not endorse Feinstein and Durbin’s bill.

“I think [Durbin’s bill], if it’s the same one that I’m familiar with — essentially the one that Senator Feinstein had all of the Democratic senators sign on to — it was basically a keep-families-together-but-don’t-enforce-the-law bill,” Cornyn said. “As long as we don’t force our immigration laws, then we’re going to continue to see these families flood across our border from places like Central America without any reduction.”

Cornyn said that criminal organizations profit off lack of enforcement at the border.

“What my friends across the aisle need to understand is this is not just the welfare of these children and their parents,” Cornyn said. “It is the drugs, contraband and other illicit activity that is run by these same criminal organizations.

“I believe that we need to keep families together, but we need to enforce the law. That means we need to detain people in a safe and secure place and then give them a chance to present their case to an immigration judge on a timely basis, but the courts are so backlogged right now.”

The bill proposed by Republicans would keep families together, but could detain families indefinitely. Democrats point to the 1997 Flores Agreement, which states that children being detained at the border should be done in the least restrictive way for the shortest time possible — less than 20 days. However, keeping families together means releasing the families of the children as well with a court date.

Democrats state that most of those released return for their court date, but Republicans say most is not enough.

Both parties seem to want to keep families together, but the partisan split will keep lawmakers from coming to an agreement on how exactly that is done for now.