The Cornyn con

1) It keeps the basic “legalization first” structure of the Gang of 8. That is, illegal immigrants are near-immediately given “provisional” legal status. Only then do promised enforcement improvements kick in. If Cornyn conditioned legalization on enforcement, he might actually come close–as close as he could come–to a “guarantee” that the enforcement measures would in fact be carried out. Instead, it’s “Give us legalization and we’ll give you enforcement in the morning.’ Once 11 million illegals are legalized, though, Democrats would have little incentive to follow through on that promise.

2) Ah, but there would still be at least a weak, third-best incentive–Cornyn’s “triggers,” if not met, would in theory prevent newly legal provisional immigrants from advancing through the system to get green cards and ultimately citizenship. The Gang of 8 bill promises this too–but doesn’t deliver (it requires mainly that DHS security plans be “substantially” implemented, as determined by … the secretary of DHS). Cornyn was supposed to make the Gang’s already weak promise real. But he doesn’t deliver much either. True, he’d require a 90% “apprehension rate” at the border, which sounds good. But this “metric” is a bureaucratic construct that’s easily manipulated. (Evidence from other sources suggests that the 90% rate is really closer to a sieve-like 50% rate). And who makes the determination that this benchmark has been reached? Not the Secretary of DHS–oh no! It’s the Secretary of DHS and one of her subordinates, the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection. Early Cornyn press releases said he was going to require the Comptroller General (head of the independent Goverment Accountability Office) to also certify that the 90% “result” had been met. But that’s not there.