Sens. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and John Cornyn (R-TX) are asking Senate Democrats to help them pass an amnesty for hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens enrolled in former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
In a July 6 letter, Tillis and Cornyn ask Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) to consider helping them approve out of committee legislation that would give amnesty to nearly 800,000 DACA-enrolled illegal aliens.
Tillis and Cornyn write that due to DACA’s “shaky legal foundations,” an amnesty is “most urgent” even as they admit that the program is “likely unconstitutional.”
“We agree that the DACA program contravenes the Immigration and Nationality Act and believe it was likely unconstitutional when issued by President Obama,” Tillis and Cornyn write:
Even so, we are concerned that [DACA illegal aliens] … will lose their employment authorization when the program is ultimately struck down. The decision whether to extend permanent legal status to DACA recipients properly falls within the Article I prerogatives of Congress. [Emphasis added]
Therefore, we ask that you schedule a markup of a bill that only addresses the population with the most urgent need: active DACA recipients. In addition, Senators should be free to offer reasonable amendments to this bill through an open amendment process, and receive an up-or down vote on these amendments. We expect that such amendments would likely include proposals related to border security, interior enforcement and employment verification programs. Such a process will allow us to develop a package that can garner the support necessary to pass on the Senate floor. [Emphasis added]
Thank you for your consideration, and we look forward to your prompt response. We hope you will view this letter for what it is: an open offer to find a permanent solution for DACA enrolled recipients. [Emphasis added]
For months, Cornyn has sought to craft an amnesty bill with Senate Democrats.
In June, for instance, Cornyn acknowledged that he was working to put together legislation that would provide amnesty to potentially millions of illegal aliens enrolled and eligible for DACA.
When a grassroots campaign began to urge American citizens to call Cornyn’s office to voice their opposition to amnesty, Cornyn suggested that the deal he said he was hammering out was “fake news.”
In a statement to The Hill, Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) Matthew Tragesser called the Tillis-Cornyn move “a pointless, poorly-timed endeavor.”
“The last immigration policy matter that should be on their mind, or any Republican senator’s mind, is amnesty,” Tragesser said. “Yet another reminder that a politician having an ‘R’ beside their name doesn’t mean they will automatically act in a manner that is in harmony with the national interest on immigration.”
The amnesty effort, despite backed by the Republican establishment’s donor base, is overwhelmingly at odds with GOP voters.
A poll by the Koch-funded Cato Institute, which lobbies for mass immigration, revealed that 6-in-10 Americans want less overall immigration to the United States — including 75 percent of Republicans and 76 percent of conservatives. The survey also showed 72 percent of Americans would prefer less immigration and more public benefits over more immigration and less public benefits.
Likewise, the latest Rasmussen Reports survey finds that about 56 percent of GOP voters say they oppose giving amnesty to even the most sympathetic illegal aliens living in the U.S. Almost half of conservative voters said the same.
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