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Home | Tag Archives: john cornyn

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Cornyn Urges Acting DHS Secretary to Prioritize Efficiency of Trade, Travel at Texas Ports of Entry

WASHINGTON— On Wednesday U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) sent a letter to Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan urging him to prioritize efficiency at Texas’ ports of entry as he develops a strategy to address the humanitarian crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border:

“The diversion of frontline CBP personnel from these ports, and the threat of a possible closure in the future, threatens to have a debilitating impact on the overall health of Texas’ economy,” Sen. Cornyn wrote.

“Some Texas ports of entry have reported cross-border wait times in excess of seven hours, resulting in lost revenue and perished goods. In the coming days, many individuals on both the U.S. and Mexican sides of the border will begin to celebrate the Semana Santa holiday, a time of historically increased travel which will result in further strains and likely increased wait times at our most active land border crossings.

“As you develop a long-term strategy to deal with the concerning trends on our southern border, I ask that you strongly consider all available options at your disposal to ensure that Texas’ ports of entries may operate as efficiently as possible. The legitimate trade and travel coming through those arteries not only impacts the economies of both Texas’ border region and state, but also the flow of goods throughout the entire nation.”

***

Full text of the letter is below.

***

April 10, 2019

The Honorable Kevin McAleenan

Acting Secretary

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW

Washington, D.C. 20229

 

Dear Acting Secretary McAleenan:

I am writing to you today to express my deep concern regarding the ongoing humanitarian and security crisis on our southern border. I share your desire to secure our nation’s border and stem the flow of illegal immigration, while also ensuring the free flow of legitimate trade and commerce.

In response to the current situation on our southern border, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) circulated a memorandum on April 1, 2019, outlining a new operation to address the ongoing crisis. This memorandum directed the temporary reassignment of personnel and resources from across Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) organization (many of which were assigned to southern land ports of entry) to process arriving immigrants and asylum seekers. Many of these officers, who had been working tirelessly to process perishable goods and travelers, have now been faced with managing a national migrant crisis. I strongly agree the current trends at our southern border are unsustainable and I recognize the severe strain this increase in apprehensions and asylum claims has put on our men and women in uniform. While I support CBP’s unwavering effort to effectively meet its mandate, I am gravely concerned about the consequences that the recently announced diversion of resources is having on our nation’s ports of entry.

As you know, the State of Texas is home to 29 air, land, and sea ports of entry – more than any other state in the nation. Many of these ports of entry, particularly those on our shared border with Mexico, are some of the busiest ports in terms passenger and vehicle processing volume in the United States. The diversion of frontline CBP personnel from these ports, and the threat of a possible closure in the future, threatens to have a debilitating impact on the overall health of Texas’ economy. Some Texas ports of entry have reported cross-border wait times in excess of seven hours, resulting in lost revenue and perished goods. In the coming days, many individuals on both the U.S. and Mexican sides of the border will begin to celebrate the Semana Santa holiday, a time of historically increased travel which will result in further strains and likely increased wait times at our most active land border crossings.

As you develop a long-term strategy to deal with the concerning trends on our southern border, I ask that you strongly consider all available options at your disposal to ensure that Texas’ ports of entries may operate as efficiently as possible. The legitimate trade and travel coming through those arteries not only impacts the economies of both Texas’ border region and state, but also the flow of goods throughout the entire nation.

Thank you for your continued service to our nation. I look forward to working with you moving forward to address the problems that our CBP personnel continue to face on a daily basis.

Sincerely,

/s/

 

List of Texas Democrats scrambling to challenge John Cornyn in 2020 grows

WASHINGTON – Call it the other “Beto effect“. Just months after Democrat Beto O’Rourke outperformed expectations by coming within three points of defeating Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Democrats are lining up to run against the state’s other U.S. senator, John Cornyn, in 2020.

The latest possible contender is veteran and 2018 congressional candidate Joseph Kopser, who lost to Republican Chip Roy for an open seat previously held by U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio.

“Everything’s on the table for me,” Kopser said in a Wednesday phone interview with the Tribune.

Kopser spoke admiringly of Cornyn but said he was still considering a run against the state’s senior senator.

“He’s a guy I respect,” Kopser said. “But also, I think if you’ve been in Washington too long, you need to come home.”

It’s been a dizzying week in posturing for the Democratic nomination as some of the party’s most well-known names in Texas have been bandied about and national Democrats have hinted that the race is one they are watching closely. In recent days, U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro of San Antonio and former state Sen. Wendy Davis openly mulled runs. Veteran and 2018 congressional candidate M.J. Hegar met with U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer in New York over the weekend.

Furthermore, Democrat Sema Hernandez, who came in second behind O’Rourke in last year’s Democratic primary to challenge Cruz, is also an announced candidate against Cornyn this cycle. She got attention in the primary for drawing more voters than O’Rourke in dozens of counties.

All of the interest in running against Cornyn is a striking contrast to two years ago, when multiple Democrats passed on challenging Cruz, leaving O’Rourke as the most prominent name in the primary.

Along with looking at challenging Cornyn, both Hegar and Kopser are also debating whether to run in U.S. House rematches in 2020. Both ran in GOP-leaning districts yet came within three points of defeating their Republican opponents, U.S. Reps. John Carter, R-Round Rock, and Roy, respectively.

As for Cornyn, he shrugged off all of the posturing in a conference call with reporters Wednesday afternoon.

“It’s a growing list,” Cornyn said. “It’s a free country, so anybody who wants to run is welcome to run.”

Asked about the prospect of specifically Davis or Castro challenging him, he said, “I’m not very nervous.”

Patrick Svitek contributed to this report.

Disclosure: Joseph Kopser has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

Author: ABBY LIVINGSTON – The Texas Tribune

Video: Cornyn – Latest Border Data Confirms a Crisis

During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) delivered remarks on Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) response to human trafficking and illegal immigration across the U.S.-Mexico border.

Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s remarks are below, and video can be found above.

“We know that CBP is facing unprecedented challenges today, and I applaud your efforts as well as the men and women who work with you who are on the front lines of this challenge on a daily basis.”

“We see hashtags that call what the president and others have described as a ‘fake emergency’ at the border. But in order to believe that there’s a fake emergency at the border, you have to be blind to the facts or simply unwilling to listen.”

“I feel particularly strongly about this topic because of where I live and the state I represent. We have 1,200 miles of common border with Mexico.”

“As you know, Mr. Commissioner, CBP announced that more than 76,000 people crossed the border in February alone. 76,000 in one month. This is the largest monthly total in more than a decade.”

“Compared to this time last year, family unit apprehensions have increased 209 percent in the Rio Grande Valley sector. Family unit apprehensions have increased 497 percent in the Del Rio sector. And most staggering, in the El Paso sector, overall apprehensions have increased 434 percent while family unit apprehensions have increased an incredible 1,639 percent.”

“This is not a crisis, people say?”

“I hear absolutely no suggestions from our Democratic friends on how to deal with the causes of these problems.”

 ***

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.

###

Beto O’Rourke not challenging John Cornyn in 2020

Beto O’Rourke is not running for U.S. Senate in 2020, a person familiar with his thinking told The Texas Tribune.

The Dallas Morning News first reported Wednesday that O’Rourke, a Democrat, would not take on U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, after the former El Paso congressman’s closer-than-expected loss last year to the state’s junior senator, Ted Cruz. O’Rourke has since been encouraged to run for president and has said he hopes to have a 2020 decision by the end of the month — which is Thursday.

“Amy and I have made a decision about how we can best serve our country,” O’Rourke said in a statement. “We are excited to share it with everyone soon.”

Amid the heightened 2020 speculation, O’Rourke is expected to make a public appearance Wednesday evening in El Paso. He is scheduled to kick off the first meeting of the local chapter of Moms Demand Action, the anti-gun violence group. The chapter was started by his 2018 campaign manager, Jody Casey.

O’Rourke’s decision not to challenge Cornyn comes after weeks of declining to rule it out amid encouragement from some Democrats who saw it as a more winnable race for him than the White House contest. However, O’Rourke never publicly said he was specifically considering a Senate run — something he has said about a presidential bid.

“Am I the best person to lead this country?” O’Rourke said during a recent visit to a college class in El Paso. “Beyond my ego and my ambition … what is the best thing for the United States of America? And in thinking through that, and in suspending your ego in that process, is tough. And so I’m in that process of thinking this through, talking to [my wife] Amy, listening to good friends and then hearing what you all have to say right now.”

O’Rourke reportedly met earlier this month with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., about a possible Cornyn challenge — a meeting that Cornyn alluded to as he reacted to news of O’Rourke’s decision Wednesday evening.

“Looks like Schumer couldn’t close the deal,” Cornyn tweeted.

Julián Aguilar contributed to this report.

Authors: PATRICK SVITEK AND ABBY LIVINGSTONThe Texas Tribune

Ted Cruz Endorses John Cornyn for Re-election

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz formally endorsed U.S. Sen. John Cornyn Friday morning, as the state’s senior senator gears up for his 2020 re-election campaign.

The pair appeared together in a video announcement, with Cruz thanking Texans for re-electing him in November.

“Today, I’m here to encourage you to do the same for my friend, Sen. John Cornyn, who worked very hard to support my re-election,” Cruz said, adding that he and Cornyn make “a very strong team here in Washington.”

The move will likely do much to shore up support for Cornyn, should any Republican primary rivals emerge.

“I’m proud to have Ted’s support, but we still have a lot of work to do,” Cornyn said. “Ted and I fight shoulder to shoulder to make the country more like Texas. That’s why it was critical he came out on top after Democrats put a target on his back and why I campaigned for him across our state.”

Cornyn is seeking his fourth term in the Senate.

Cornyn and Cruz have not always endorsed each other. Cruz declined to back Cornynin 2014 when he faced a primary challenge from then-U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman. Cruz said then that he was not getting involved in primaries involving his fellow senators.

Two years later, Cornyn similarly took a pass on endorsing Cruz for another term. At the time, Cruz was facing the possibility of a serious primary opponent amid the fallout from his decision not to endorse Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention.

In September 2017, though, Cornyn reversed himself and gave his support to Cruz. During a joint interview at the Texas Tribune Festival, Cornyn said it was important for the state’s senators to present a unified front in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, which had just hit the Texas coast.

Cornyn pitched in as Cruz confronted an increasingly serious challenge from U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso. Cornyn hosted an October fundraiser for Cruz in Washington, D.C., and joined Cruz for a number of stops on a statewide bus tour in the race’s closing days.

Read related Tribune coverage

Authors:  ABBY LIVINGSTON AND PATRICK SVITEK – The Texas Tribune

Texas’ Sens. Cruz, Cornyn Likely to Play Big Roles in Picking Justice Anthony Kennedy’s Replacement

WASHINGTON – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement on Wednesday, setting off what could be one of the most contentious judicial confirmation battles in American history.

Kennedy is known as the swing vote on the high court, meaning that a conservative replacement could shift the body to the right for a generation. That could have huge implications for cases expected to make their way to the Supreme Court in coming years, including battles over the rights of businesses to make “religious refusals,” a reckoning over the issue of partisan gerrymandering and new restrictions on the right to abortion — all issues that would reverberate loudly in Texas.

The retirement is also a likely advantage for Texas in several lawsuits against the federal government currently winding their way through the federal courts system, including a case that aims to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and another challenge to the Affordable Care Act.

Both Texas senators, Republicans John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee and are all but certain to play central roles in the questioning of whoever President Donald Trump nominates to replace Kennedy.

In a Fox News interview Wednesday, Cruz praised the moment as “an historic day.”

“What the Gorsuch pick did at the very best was maintain the status quo,” Cruz said. “The Justice Kennedy vacancy, on the other hand, is an opportunity to really have a profound impact on the court that could last for decades.”

Democrats, who are still bitter that U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to allow a vote for the previous open seat during the Obama administration, should be expected to fight this nomination tooth and nail.

But they have little recourse. McConnell and his Republican colleagues lifted the filibuster rule during the 2017 nomination of current Justice Neil Gorsuch, meaning a simple majority is all that the GOP will need to push through the president’s nominee.

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he’d choose his next nominee from a previously circulated shortlist of Supreme Court contenders. Cruz gave an early endorsement to one of his colleagues, who appears on that list: U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah.

“The single best choice President Donald Trump could make to fill this vacancy is Senator Mike Lee,” Cruz said. “I think he would be extraordinary.”

Cornyn chimed in later in the day with a news release.

“I hope the President will choose a principled, well-qualified nominee committed to upholding the rule of law and interpreting the Constitution faithfully, rather than rewriting it,” he said. “I also hope Democrats will consider whomever the President chooses on the merits and not subject the nominee to unfair, personal attacks.”

“I look forward to voting to confirm Justice Kennedy’s successor this Fall.”

Trump’s shortlist also includes one Texan, former Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett, who was confirmed in December to a seat on the conservative 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Willett is perhaps best known for his outspoken Twitter presence, an accountthat has quieted slightly since his nomination last summer to the federal bench. Questions about Willett’s social media accounts dominated his confirmation hearing in November, with some senators suggesting that posts Willett considered lighthearted had in fact shown bias on issues like the rights of transgender students.

He told the committee that his tweets from the federal bench would “be above the fray” and focus largely on civic education.

Over the last 30 years, Kennedy emerged as a critical centrist on an increasingly polarized court, making him an important vote on several Texas cases. He wrote for the majority in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision, a sweeping ruling that struck down Texas’ ban on gay sodomy and took 13 similar laws along with it. Two years ago, Kennedy sided with the court’s more liberal justices to strike down Texas abortion restrictions and uphold affirmative action policies at the University of Texas at Austin.

During the term that ended Wednesday, Kennedy sided with Texas in a case upholding the state’s political maps, which a district court had said intentionally discriminated against voters of color.

The University of Texas at Austin has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

By  ABBY LIVINGSTON AND EMMA PLATOFF – The Texas Tribune

Cornyn Issues Statement Following Landfall of Hurricane Harvey

AUSTIN—U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) Saturday released the following statement after Hurricane Harvey made landfall along the Texas Gulf Coast:

“Our Texas communities affected by this severe hurricane continue to be in my prayers, as are the first responders and emergency personnel who are working around the clock. The threat posed by Harvey is extreme, and Texans should continue to heed the warnings of local officials and emergency personnel.

“My staff and I will remain in close contact with FEMA, the Governor’s office, and local officials in impacted areas as Texas continues to endure this dangerous storm. Thank you to all Texans who will be helping those in need in the days and weeks ahead.”

Senator Cornyn’s website will be updated with the most current information on available shelters, state assistance, federal disaster assistance, and other resources.

Senator Cornyn was briefed by the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Brock Long, and the Chief of the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), Nim Kidd, on Thursday about storm preparations.

Video: Cornyn Addresses Wednesday’s Shooting Outside Washington

WASHINGTON – On the Senate floor, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) addressed Wednesday morning’s tragic shooting at a practice for a charity baseball game and thanked the U.S. Capitol Police for their role in protecting the lives of those involved. Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s remarks are below:

“All of us who work on Capitol Hill, all of our visitors who come here, and constituents from around the country are in their debt because they literally do keep us safe and secure here on Capitol Hill.”

“It’s safe to say that without the Capitol Police being present… that the results of this might have been much more serious, much more tragic than they already were.”

“While there is a lot we don’t know about this morning’s incident, it’s clear that this is a new environment we’re living in, and we need to do everything we can to keep our constituents safe when they visit us here on Capitol Hill, as well as all the staff and everybody involved.”

Cornyn Praises Senate Passage of Bill Encouraging Law Enforcement to Hire Vets

WASHINGTON – Wednesday on the Senate Floor as National Police Week continues, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) praised the Senate’s passage of the American Law Enforcement Heroes Act, bipartisan legislation he introduced with Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and U.S. Rep. Will Hurd (TX-23) to incentivize law enforcement agencies to hire military veterans.

Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s remarks are below:

“Last night the Senate passed a piece of legislation, bipartisan legislation, called the American Law Enforcement Heroes Act, and it’s a great example of legislation that everyone can agree on and get behind. The main goal is to connect veterans, those who served in our military and have a passion for public service, to opportunities in state and local law enforcement.”

“That way those who have voluntarily put themselves in harm’s way to keep the peace and promote American interests abroad and defend our homeland can continue the record of public service at home.”

“By prioritizing existing federal funds for state and local law enforcement agencies to hire veterans, we can better serve them as they transition into civilian life, which we know can be a challenging transition. But that’s exactly what the American Law Enforcement Heroes Act, that we passed yesterday, does.”

“Let me express my gratitude to the Senior Senator from Minnesota, Senator Klobuchar, as well as the Senior Senators from Connecticut and California, all Democratic colleagues, for being my original cosponsors on the bill. And I’m grateful to my Republican colleagues, including Senator Cruz, the Junior Senator from North Carolina, and the Senior Senators from Iowa, Utah, and Nevada, for working with us on this legislation.”

“I look forward to this bill becoming a law, hopefully this week, as we continue to celebrate Police Week and honor the service of the men and women in blue who keep our communities safe, and making it clear that this Congress cares not only about our veterans, but also our law enforcement officials as well.” 

Senator Cornyn Issues Statement on Administration Repealing Obama EPA Regulations

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) released the following statement after President Trump signed an executive order repealing the job-killing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations put in place by the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan:

“For eight years the Obama Administration’s draconian regulatory regime hindered job growth and hit Texans at the pump and on their utility bills.

Rolling back the Obama Administration’s unnecessary, job-killing, and oppressive EPA regulations is another promise kept by this President.” 

“I’m glad President Trump continues to prioritize job creation over catering to environmental activists, and I look forward to working with him to harness our state’s energy potential for the benefit of the entire nation.”

Senator Cornyn: Gorsuch Enjoys ‘Broad Spectrum’ of Support

WASHINGTON – Monday in the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) delivered an opening statement praising President Trump’s pick to fill the vacancy left by the late Judge Antonin Scalia.

Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s remarks are below:

“The Senate Judiciary Committee undertakes no task more important than the one before us: considering a nominee to the United States Supreme Court.”

“The law is not just an academic or intellectual exercise. It has real consequences for real people.”

“Not one of our Democratic colleagues then in the Senate opposed Neil Gorsuch for the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals because there was simply no reason to do so.”

“As you can see here today, his jurisprudence reflects brilliance and the humility of a man committed to the Constitution and the law. That body of work is the best guide for the kind of judge Judge Gorsuch will be.

“We’re not here to ask you, even though some might, how you will vote in specific cases. And it would be wrong for you to prejudge those cases, as you know.”

“And that’s the same reason why, for example, Ruth Bader Ginsburg during her nomination hearing said a judge sworn to decide impartially can offer no forecast, no hints, for that would not only show disregard for the specifics of a particular case, it would display disdain for the entire judicial process. And our colleagues know that as well, but I expect them to ask a few questions nonetheless.”

“Well, lately we have heard from some that they should criticize you for failing to rule for a sympathetic constituency in one case or another. But of course as you know, Judge, if you follow the law and the facts wherever it may lead, sometimes it’s for the police, sometimes for a criminal defendant, sometimes it’s for a corporation, sometimes it’s for an employee, sometimes it’s for the government, sometimes it’s against the government. That’s how the rule of law works, and that’s good for all Americans.”

“Because of your qualifications and demonstrated record of following the law, other than a few special interest groups, I believe you’ve got a broad spectrum, really surprisingly broad spectrum, of people supporting your nomination.”

“I’m very pleased the American people are about to learn why President Trump chose you as his nominee for the Supreme Court. I look forward to hearing from Judge Gorsuch, and I would encourage my colleagues to carefully consider the nominee on the merits and nothing else.”

“The nation is watching, and I think that’s a really good thing.”

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.

Opinion: Senator Cornyn – Obamacare Replacement Major Step in Right Direction

WASHINGTON – Tuesday on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) discussed the American Health Care Act. Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s remarks are below, and video of his remarks can be found here.

“The fact of the matter is that Obamacare has been one broken promise after another. President Obama and advocates of this law said that if you wanted to keep your plan, you could keep it. But that didn’t pan out.” 

“They said if you liked your doctor, you didn’t have to find another one. That didn’t turn out to be true either. And they promised people across the country would have more coverage, more options, and better health care, all at a more affordable price. Well, that ended up not being true either.”

“Now we have an opportunity to do better for the people we represent, who are counting on us to deliver, to repeal Obamacare and replace it with options that work, and I believe the plan released last night is a major step in the right direction.” 

“Patients need better tools, like health savings accounts…We need to break down the barriers that restrict choice and keep Americans from choosing an insurance plan that works…And we need to empower employers, particularly small business owners, to provide their employees with the kind of affordable coverage that meets their needs.” 

“We need to move health care decisions out of Washington and send them back to the states and back to patients and families and their doctors.” 

“So I’m glad our colleagues in the House and our friends in the White House fully understand why this is such a priority and why we need to keep the promise that we made. As soon as we can do that and deliver on that major promise to the American people, the sooner we do that, a whole lot of American families across the country will feel relief.” 

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees
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