The Democratic Congressional leadership has finally spoken out against the anti-immigrant wing of the Republican party for trying to whip up hysteria over the Mexican border in order to gut CIR. On June 9, Politico (whose superb coverage of the immigration reform battle puts all the other media that I have come across in the shade) ran an article entitled: Harry Reid blasts John Cornyn 'poison pill'. Here is the link:

Politico quotes Reid (D-NV) as telling Univision's Al Punto:

"We have a Senator from Texas, Senator Cornyn, who wants to change border security, a trigger, saying it has to be 100 per cent border security, or [there will] be no bill. That's a poison pill."

Politico continues:

"Reid argued that significant heft, including Border Patrol officers as well as drones, have been added to the nation's border with Texas [sic - Politico obviously meant 'Mexico' instead] in recent years and that Republicans who are arguing for increased border security as a condition of supporting the Senate legislation are only trying to upset the delicate bill negotiations."

What is in the Cornyn amendment exactly? According to a June 5 news release from the office of Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), the amendment would require the following, inter alia, before Registered Provisional Immigrants (RPI) can adjust to Lawful Permanent Resident (green card) status:

1. 100 % Situational Awareness - monitoring capability at every segment of the Southern border

2.Full operational control - defined as at least 90% apprehension rate along Southern border

How realistic are these goals? Could they ever be met? Would there be a way to verify whether they have been met?

According to a Washington Post editorial: Measure US border security by progress (April 20), while the General Accounting office states that in two of the three sectors of the border involved, the apprehension rate of people trying to cross the border into the US illegally is already close to 90 per cent (will Congressional Republicans ever believe that?), this is not true for the third sector, where the apprehension rate is between 50 and 70 per cent. The link to this editorial is:

Therefore, the Cornyn bill may be setting impossible targets. Gang of Eight Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) warns, according to the Washington Post: Intense Debate in Senate over immigration bill, June 8:

"One principle is that the trigger has to be both achievable and specific." 

The Cornyn bill, as well as other calls for more Border Security (BS) from the Republican anti-immigrant wing, seem to be designed only to frustrate this principle and to derail CIR.

Another disturbing feature of the anti-immigrant right's addiction to more BS is the interest in this issue by big military contractors looking for more dollars as the nation's involvement in overseas wars winds down.

A June 6 New York Times article: As Wars End, a Rush to Grab Dollars Spent on the Border, begins:

"The nation's largest military contractors, facing federal budget cuts and the withdrawals from two wars, are turning their sights to the Mexican border in the hopes of collecting some of the billions of dollars expected to be spent on tighter security if immigration legislation becomes law."

The Times article can be accessed at:

This is not to say that America now has total "security" along the Mexican border, even though, as the Times points out, the number of Border Patrol agents has doubled to 21,000 since 2005, and border fencing has increased from 135 miles to 651.

We have not yet arrived at the type of border separating the two Koreas, or the Berlin Wall. Nor would a free country like America want to have such a border with a friendly neighbor such as Mexico.

Therefore, does it make any sense to hold the lives and hopes of 11 million people for legal status in the US hostage to Border Security (BS) proposals from defense contractor profiteers, or avowed immigration foes whose only interest is in killing reform by using any tactic available?