Cornyn Talks About Immigration Legislation

Texas Senator John Cornyn is in town to talk about legislation he's introduced to address border security and immigration policy. Houston Public Radio's Capella Tucker reports

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The senate bill was introduced last July with Arizona Senator Jon Kyl and is set to go before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week.

One part of the bill would add resources, including 10,000 Border Patrol Agents and more than 1,200 Customs and Border Protection Officers. The bill allocates $5 billion over five years for technology to monitor the borders.

"Use the technology we currently use in places like the border between Syria and Iraq to determine intrusions across the border. Our military uses those, we don't use those along our southern border, but we should. We need to use things like un-manned aerial vehicles to servile the border to help the border control control who is coming in and make sure that's available to assist them in enforcing the law."

Cornyn applauded Governor Rick Perry's initiatives on border security, adding that the federal government needs to do its part. The bill goes beyond security to try to address immigration policy. Cornyn says an estimated 10 million people are in the U.S. illegally. He does not support an amnesty program.

"What we need to do though I think is find a way for those individuals to come out of the shadows for us to identify who they are and to determine whether they are threat or not. If they want to work and if we have jobs that they can perform that can't or won't be filled by Americans then I think we ought to provide them a way to transition in to some legal status."

Cornyn says the bill would give illegal immigrants a second chance, but it would involve leaving the country on a temporary basis. The bill allows up to five years for that transition process. The bill would provide 10,000 agents over five years to investigate employers who hire illegal aliens. The bill would also create a temporary worker category. Illegal immigrants have also been associated with burdens on the health care system. Cornyn's bill calls on the immigrants original countries to provide a minimal level of health coverage for temporary workers in the U.S. Any shortfall would be made up by the employers and aliens.

Cornyn says he hopes to have the bill through the congressional process and to the President's desk by the end of the year. Capella Tucker, Houston Public Radio News.

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