This is not to say that border security doesn’t merit greater funding. But if we’re going to spend taxpayer dollars, let’s at least be honest about it.
It shouldn’t take Obamacare-style accounting tricks to garner the necessary votes. Furthermore, any new spending must come with a guarantee that the border will, in fact, be secured and legal commerce facilitated.
That’s why this bill is fundamentally flawed: It makes a lot of eyebrow-raising promises – such as doubling the number of Border Patrol agents and building an additional 700 miles of fencing – but it has no reliable mechanism for ensuring accountability and measuring results.
Rather, it requires only an ill-defined certification by the Secretary of Homeland Security, who can single-handedly determine whether or not the border is “secure.” Americans should ask themselves: Do we want to place such tremendous power in the hands of a political appointee? I do not.
Our broken border is not a problem that can be fixed with money alone. Nor is it something that can be fixed with hastily drafted amendments that are long on symbolism but short on substance.
The solution, I believe, lies at the intersection of two deeply held American traits: compassion for our fellow man and respect for the rule of law. This bill was not a serious attempt to find that intersection.
This debate is not over – we’ve only reached halftime.
My hope is that the House of Representatives will rescue this bill by strengthening its security provisions. This will allow us to assemble a conference committee where we can deliver the guarantees and the results Texans deserve, not the hollow promises they’ve been getting. This will be a fundamental requirement for any bill to have a chance of passing both chambers of Congress.
We must get this right. The future of a great nation is at stake and the consequences will reverberate for generations.
Senator Cornyn serves on the Finance and Judiciary Committees. He serves as the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee’s Immigration, Refugees and Border Security subcommittee. He served previously as Texas Attorney General, Texas Supreme Court Justice, and Bexar County District Judge.