Texans Cornyn, Cuellar Can't Get Congressional Colleagues to Back Their Bipartisan Immigration Plan

WASHINGTON -- Texas Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican, and Laredo Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat, teamed up in early May to introduce far-reaching legislation they say would help solve the growing migration crisis at America’s southern border.A month and a half later, the high-profile effort is heading nowhere fast.Neither Cuellar nor Cornyn has secured a single co-sponsor in their respective chambers. In the Senate, other GOP-led immigration legislation appears to be taking priority instead. In the House, opposition from key Texas Democrats signals that the duo’s bill is all but dead.“I have not been approached to support this bill nor do I sense any House Democratic support for this bill,” said Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville, citing concern that the proposal would, among other things, bolster the contentious tactic of detaining migrant families.The legislative quagmire serves as a microcosm of America’s immigration debate.Lawmakers have been vexed for decades over how to fix a broken system. That remains true as President Donald Trump pushes an aggressive border security approach and as record numbers of Central American migrants, many of them children, reach the U.S. through Mexico.Incremental immigration fixes have on occasion moved forward through spending bills, such as a $4.6 billion emergency measure Congress is now considering to address the border surge. But more systemic change has proved elusive amid intensifying partisan gridlock.While Cornyn and Cuellar pitched their bill as a way to bridge the divide, it didn’t take long for that veneer to crack.Some Democrats see Cornyn as an unreliable partner on immigration. Cornyn sees Democratic leaders as unwilling to address the border crisis. Cuellar, while influential, is more conservative than many of his colleagues. Other Texas Democrats have their own immigration ideas.The outcome, no matter who’s to blame, is all too predictable.“When it comes to immigration, everybody has different opinions,” said Cuellar, an eight-term lawmaker who will next year will face a primary challenger from the left. “Unfortunately, we just haven’t found common ground.”  Continue reading...

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