Immigration Debate About Deeply Held Values, Respect for
the Rule of Law
�Our conversation about America�s immigration
system is, at core, about people�
Senator John Cornyn gave the following statement ahead of Senate
Judiciary Committee�s consideration of the immigration reform
�Mr. Chairman we obviously all bring our own
unique experiences to this discussion, but my congratulations to the Gang
of 8 for their constructive work, but now is the time for the other 92
members of the United States Senate to weigh in and I hope we�ll have
a process that allows all of us to contribute.
I think, notable, that we have 43 new Senators in the Senate since
the last time we took up a comprehensive immigration bill in 2007, so
there�s a lot of people who know a lot about this topic, and a lot of
people who are engaging in this subject perhaps anew.
come to America for many different reasons. Of course, as we
are sometimes painfully reminded, not everyone comes with good
intentions. But the vast majority of immigrants�both legal and
illegal�come because they want to make a better life for themselves and their
�America is a welcoming nation that rewards hard
work and the entrepreneurial spirit. That spirit and work ethic is alive
and well in Texas, where we continue to grow the economy and add
jobs. In Texas we welcome hard-working people who are willing to
take a risk and start a business, people who start with nothing and lift
themselves up and help their families live a better
�Our conversation about America�s immigration system is, at core, about
people�and we must never forget that.
the Mexican-American landowners and ranchers in the Rio Grande Valley,
many of whom have called the border region their home for
�It�s about the Vietnamese restaurant owner in Houston
whose daughter works as a hostess when she�s home from college on
�It�s about the Salvadorans working in the kitchen who hope
to save up enough money to open their own restaurant
�It�s about the gifted young technologist from China who wants to
be the next Michael Dell or Andy Grove.
�It�s about dreams
and success stories, but it�s also about heartache and
�It�s about the family of illegal immigrants terrorized by violent
street gangs, who refuse to call the police out of fear their
encounters with law enforcement could lead to their
�It�s about a young woman from Nicaragua who pays a coyote thousands of
dollars to illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border, only to be
exploited as a victim of modern-day slavery.
uncomfortable, and emotional issues but we cannot ignore them. This is a
debate that cannot be guided by emotion alone though.
debate is about our most deeply-held values. One of those is respect
for the rule of law. For too long, our immigration laws have gone
unenforced and have been violated with impunity. Our effort to fix the
broken immigration system must begin at the border�where we must set
objective, realistic goals and then meet those goals.
�But as we
all know, we can�t solve the problem just at the border alone. Forty
percent of our illegal immigration is the result of people who enter
the country legally, but never leave when their visa expires. We had
passed a law in 1996 mandating an entry-exit system which has never,
ever been implemented. We must provide employers with a straightforward,
accurate verification system to determine the legal status of new
�It�s our duty to look carefully at every provision of
the bill�and to speak up if we disagree and to offer constructive
suggestions to improve it.
�So I anticipate a spirited, civil
discussion about the bill. But my constituents at their core are
pragmatists. That�s because we live with this issue every day of our lives,
because of our 1,200 mile common border with Mexico and the fact that
about a third of my constituents and Sen. Cruz�s constituents are
Hispanic � who�ve been the benefits of our immigration system and who�ve
added immeasurably to our state.
�This legislation makes a
number of positive improvements, but there are areas that need to be
improved even more. So I look forward to a robust discussion and I trust
Mr. Chairman, given the size and the scope of this bill, that you will
continue the Committee�s tradition of an open and robust debate. The
challenge before us is to get this right and not to simply get it
Video of Sen. Cornyn's remarks can