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John Cornyn signals he's ready to cave on border security amendment

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Conn Carroll,Immigration,Harry Reid,Border Security,John Cornyn

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., may have called off Senate floor debate after Democrats and pro-amnesty Republicans failed to get 60 votes against a border security amendment yesterday, but it appears that Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, is already willing to vote for final passage if some minor tweaks are made to the current bill.

The Hill reports:

Cornyn told Republican colleagues at a meeting Wednesday that he would consider making changes to his amendment to bolster the border-security provisions of the Senate bill.

His willingness to negotiate left some Republicans convinced after the meeting that he would strike a deal with the Gang of Eight and vote for final passage. His support would help the legislation pass overwhelmingly.

So just what types of changes is Cornyn willing to make? “There are certain elements that are non-negotiable, specifically the mechanism by which we would guarantee the security measures in the bill would actually be implemented,” Cornyn told The Hill.

This would appear to suggest that Cornyn is open to changing the substance of his border security triggers, just not how they are verified. And the difference between how S. 744 and Cornyn’s amendment guarantee completion of the triggers just isn’t that big.

S. 744 requires the DHS Secretary to certify to Congress that all four security triggers have been met before illegal immigrants can become citizens.

The Cornyn amendment requires both the DHS Secretary and the Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner to certify, “under the penalty of perjury,” that the triggers have been met before illegal immigrants can become citizens. It also requires the DHS Inspector General to certify completion of the triggers (although not under the penalty of perjury).

That’s it. That is the big difference between the two bills on how completion of the security measures are verified. S. 744 requires DHS Secretary certification, while Cornyn requires certification from the DHS Secretary, the CBP Commissioner, and the DHS IG.

So far no Democrats have objected to this framework. It is hard to see how Cornyn and pro-amnesty Republicans can’t split the difference on the substance of triggers while letting Cornyn keep his verification mechanism.

However, Mickey Kaus has reported that the real reason Democrats are objecting to the Cornyn amendment is that it denies even immediate legalization, let alone citizenship, to all illegal immigrants with just one DUI conviction. S.744 allows illegal immigrants two free DUIs before it denies them legalization.

That is a real difference e between the two bills that will be hard to overcome.

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