Key Amnesty Critic Warns: Border Bill Could Open Door to Dreaded Conference Committee

Matthew Boyle, Breitbart, July 15, 2014

Virtually every key House Republican, from Speaker John Boehner on down, has vowed to oppose a conference committee with the Senate’s immigration bill passed last year. And lawmakers working to craft legislation to address the tens of thousands of children streaming across the southern U.S. border say it won’t touch citizenship for illegal aliens, increased visas, or any other topics than border security.

But a key veteran of the immigration wars on Capitol Hill is warning that legislation to amend a 2008 law being cited for cumbersome, years-long deportations would theoretically open the door to a conference committee on the controversial amnesty bill.

Proposals to strengthen the law, including one introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Rep. Henry Cueller (D-TX), “opens up whatever bill this is in to a conference with the Senate Gang of Eight bill,” said Rosemary Jenks, the legislative director for NumbersUSA, a group that opposes amnesty as well as increased legal immigration.

“Our proposal would improve the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2008, treating all unaccompanied minors equally and ensuring Due Process under the law in a timely, fair manner,” Cornyn, who voted against the Gang of Eight bill last year and has usually demonstrated a fairly strong anti-amnesty record, said in a statement about the bill he and Cueller introduced Tuesday.

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“Cornyn, like so many other Republicans, has been distracted by this shiny object, which is the 2008 anti-trafficking law,” Jenks said in a phone interview. “It is just ridiculous to assume that changing this law that affects less than 20 percent of all the illegals coming across the border right now is going to fix the problem.”

“If it goes through the House first, it will be conferenced in the Senate,” Jenks said. “Think about what that means. I cannot imagine why people don’t get this. McCain and Graham and Schumer are talking in the pages of the New York Times about how they will attach part or all of their bill to whatever comes through on this. . . .  This is why the whole idea that you can do targeted policy changes is ludicrous.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a sponsor of the Gang of Eight bill, told the Times the legislative address to the border crisis is “a way to start securing the border in line with the Senate bill. If you could use this as an opportunity to beef up the border, I think it makes future immigration reform more likely.”

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All these deliberations are ongoing as Senate Budget Committee ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) says there shouldn’t be any new spending or legislation unless the president uses his current powers to stop more executive amnesty.“Certainly, DACA and the President’s other numerous unlawful policies must be terminated,” Sessions wrote in a letter his office hand-delivered to every member of Congress on Monday. “But as a first step, Congress must not acquiesce to spending more taxpayer dollars until the President unequivocally rescinds his threat of more illegal executive action.”

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