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Cornyn should hang his head on illegal-alien - Fort Worth Star-

Telegram (TX) - November 5, 2007 - page B11

November 5, 2007 | Fort Worth Star-Telegram (TX) | MASSEY VILLARREAL | Page B11

One of the most pressing issues facing our nation today is fixing our deeply flawed immigration
system. T his is particularly true in border states such as T exas.

But earlier this year, Congress failed to take action to reform this system. Sen. John Cornyn, R-
T exas, was central to that failure. And he was central to the recent failure to pass the common-
sense DREAM Act, which he had supported in the past in a much broader version. Sen. Kay Bailey
Hutchison, R-T exas, sought to amend that legislation and worked hard to perfect it.

T he one tried and true path to achieve the American Dream is a quality education, and even
though efforts to enact comprehensive immigration reform fell short this year, a bipartisan group
of senators introduced the DREAM Act last month. T he legislation would have provided hard-
working immigrant children who pursue higher education or volunteer for military service with an
avenue to win legal status by proving their character.

In the U.S. today, there are students who have lived practically their entire lives in this country;
they've gone to high school here, they've worked hard to succeed and have talent that our
economy and armed forces need.

Whatever one thinks about the immigration issue, these children typically were brought to the U.S.
by their parents when they were too young to understand the manner of their arrival, let alone
have any control over the decision. A majority of these kids know no other country as their home
and speak no language but our own.

Sadly, Cornyn makes it a policy to demand that Hispanic children from T exas prove their legal
status before allowing them to meet with him in Washington.

By caving in to the fears of a vocal minority, Cornyn and many of his colleagues turned their backs
on thousands of kids living and striving in our communities. He thumbed his nose at the T exas
Legislature (which created a state version of the act in 2001) and Gov. Rick Perry (who signed it).
T hey recognized the return on investment to our state from allowing these kids to reach their
potential and contribute fully to our economy.

T exans know better, and that is why our state has refused to buy into fear-mongering and political
scapegoating of hard-working immigrants of good character.

Cornyn might talk a good game, but his actions speak louder than his hollow words. T here is no
excuse for voting against such a narrowly crafted piece of legislation as the DREAM Act,
particularly when the senior senator from our state stood on the floor of the U.S. Senate asking
for his vote and promising a tough bill that would satisfy both sides of the debate.
T he writing is on the wall where Cornyn is concerned. He has joined the ranks of the know-nothing,
do-nothing obstructionists who refuse to deal with the immigration issue in a manner that will lead
to responsible and practical reform.

T his issue won't go away on its own, and it isn't reasonable to pass the buck to state and local
governments. T here are 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, and without
sensible reform, the situation will only get worse.

T he American public is fed up with politicians like Cornyn who fail to act. In the absence of any
immigration reform, local tensions will simmer, public frustration will mount, and we will be no
closer to providing the security, enforcement and accountability the American people demand.

Massey Villarreal is the former national chairman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly
and a board member of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Copyrig ht (c) 2007 Fort Worth Star-Teleg ram