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Grumpy old men discuss immigration

20 May 2007

Paul Kane of the (registration required) Washington Post reports on the civility of the United States Senate’s consideration of immigration law changes:

During a meeting Thursday on immigration legislation, [Arizona Republican Senator and Presidential candidate John McCain] and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) got into a shouting match when Cornyn started voicing concerns about the number of judicial appeals that illegal immigrants could receive, according to multiple sources — both Democrats and Republicans — who heard firsthand accounts of the exchange from lawmakers who were in the room.

At a bipartisan gathering in an ornate meeting room just off the Senate floor, McCain complained that Cornyn was raising petty objections to a compromise plan being worked out between Senate Republicans and Democrats and the White House. He used a curse word associated with chickens and accused Cornyn of raising the issue just to torpedo a deal.

McCain, a former Navy pilot, then used language more accustomed to sailors …

“[Expletive] you! I know more about this than anyone else in the room,” shouted McCain at Cornyn. McCain helped craft a bill in 2006 that passed the Senate but couldn’t be compromised with a House bill that was much tougher on illegal immigrants.

Cornyn seems to be under the impression that making “illegal” entry a criminal offense is somehow different than the present system, where it’s an administrative law one. Which means, of course, that one needs to have a criminal trial and court and federal judge (who earns a lot more than an Administrative Law Judge). McCain was a sponsor of the imperfect, but relatively progressive Senate Immigration bill which was politically incorrect to the then Republican majority House of Representatives last year.

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