A few days ago, the anti-immigrant group, Numbers USA further relegated itself to the right-wing fringe by denouncing a potential “mainstream” ally, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and his “frightening pro-amnesty” stance. Shortly before President Obama’s Thursday bipartisan meeting on immigration reform, Numbers USA issued an email to its members bashing Cornyn:
“Sen. Cornyn has been making incredibly frightening pro-amnesty statements lately. Only you in Texas can shake him back to some degree of sensibility. Earlier this spring at a Senate hearing, he said that he is in agreement on most immigration issues with Sen. Schumer (the radically pro-amnesty Democrat from New York who chairs the Senate panel on immigration). Then yesterday, the authoritative Capitol Hill newspaper — Roll Call — said Cornyn intends to goad Obama into moving faster to pass comprehensive immigration reform. That terminology almost always means amnesty.”
Numbers USA, rest assured — in Cornyn’s case, his tempered “terminology” means nothing of the such. Though Sen. Cornyn praised Obama for beginning the immigration discussion, this weekend he reassured Texas voters that he strongly opposes “amnesty” in the same breath that he harshly criticized the unproductive agenda of groups like Numbers USA:
“Unfortunately you see groups like that basically are more interested in using money by using fear tactics rather than they are in talking about a subject in a rational and intelligent way…I do oppose amnesty, because I think my constituents in Texas oppose amnesty overwhelmingly. But that’s not to say that there can’t be some practical solution that falls short of amnesty that allows us to improve the status quo.”
Cornyn might want to double check with his constituents, but most polling indicates that the majority of Americans support a path to legalization for the 12 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the US. The very health of the GOP largely hinges on the party’s ability to regain the confidence of Latino voters who largely favor immigration reform legislation that contains a legalization component.
Cornyn has instead indicated that the only “practical solution” he is willing to support is a guest worker program — a controversial element of the immigration debate that labor groups strongly oppose. The nation’s two largest labor federations equate any new guest worker program to an “indentured servant” initiative.