Republican U.S. Senator from Texas
As a senator from a border state where the Hispanic population is nearing 40 percent, John Cornyn has often tried to employ a compassionate rhetoric when it comes to immigration policy.
“We can’t forget that our border communities are critically important, and any solution we find must somehow balance our normal compassion for people who are vulnerable and people who are seeking a better life,” he said in a 2018 interview.
Yet Cornyn voted against the 2010 version of the DREAM Act, as well as the 2013 attempt at comprehensive immigration reform, which would have provided a pathway to citizenship for some of the undocumented population in the country. And in 2016 he co-sponsored the Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act, which would hold sanctuary cities accountable for defying federal immigration laws and increase penalties for individuals who illegally re-enter the United States after being removed.
As GOP Senate Majority Whip and Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security, Cornyn has been an ally of the Trump administration’s immigration agenda in Congress. But in one area, he has held onto a more centrist position: The senator has long been a proponent of increasing the business community’s access to foreign workers. He co-sponsored the Global Competitiveness Act of 2008, which provided more H-1B visas for employers, as well as the possibility of some “permanent employment-based visas.” And, as recently as 2019 he said, “It’s important to remember that any actions that we take to secure our southern border must also keep in mind the important role that Mexico plays in the economy of the United States.’”
As Cornyn faces the Texas electorate in 2020, voters will be watching how Cornyn tailors his positions on immigration, and where those positions align with the interests of the national Republican Party and with the interests of Texans.