Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) wasn't impressed on Friday with an op-ed from a young undocumented immigrant who questioned whether the senator will "stand in the way of immigration reform."
After the group DREAM Action Coalition -- a group of undocumented young people, or Dreamers -- tweeted the post at Cornyn, he had a succinct response: "complete bs."
@drmaction complete bs— JohnCornyn (@JohnCornyn) April 26, 2013
A spokesman for Cornyn confirmed that the senator wrote the tweet.
"[F]rom a politician, a vulgar outburst is often a sign of serious weakness," the DREAM Action Coalition account replied.
The op-ed was posted to the Houston Chronicle's website Thursday and penned by Cesar Vargas, director of the DREAM Action Coalition. Vargas came to the United States from Mexico at the age of 5 and applied last year for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to remain in the United States.
He wrote that Cornyn, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee that is now considering immigration reform legislation by the bipartisan "gang of eight," has been hypocritical on the issue. He specifically cites Cornyn's vote against the Dream Act -- which failed -- in 2010. Vargas wrote that "many, if not all of Cornyn's demands for border security" are addressed in the gang of eight bill and that if the senator opposed it, it would be purely for political reasons:
Unlike previous attempts, Cornyn's effort to doom immigration reform will not have the same potency or success rate. What is on display, however, is the senator's diminishing standing, particularly as a statesman capable of working across the aisle on tough legislative issues. Cornyn can still take advantage of this last chance to prove to Texans a legacy of firmness in leadership to take on immigration reform that includes not only border security but a practical system that unites all families.
Cornyn spoke about the gang of eight bill during a Judiciary committee hearing on Monday and said it includes "a number of positive improvements" to the immigration system.
"But there are a number of areas that this bill needs substantial improvement in," he said. "For example, while well-intentioned, I regret that the border security element falls well short of the sponsors' aspiration to protect the borders and maintain U.S. sovereignty. In fact, without major changes, the bill could do more harm than good. ... Border security matters in Texas and along the Southwestern border, and the bill's -- does not adequately provide for it. And I hope my colleagues will work with me to help get it right. I think we can do it."
Cornyn spokesman Drew Brandewie responded to Vargas' op-ed in a statement to HuffPost Thursday afternoon.
Cesar Vargas of the DREAM Action Coalition accused Sen. Cornyn of being an “obstructionist” on immigration reform and suggested that he is trying to derail the bipartisan Senate bill drafted by the so-called Gang of Eight. The bill is a little over a week old, and Sen. Cornyn has repeatedly praised his colleagues’ efforts. Last week, Sen. Cornyn laid out areas where he agreed and disagreed with the Gang of 8. He looks forward to the mark up and the continued debate on this important, complex issue.
Vargas has also been critical of the Obama administration's immigration policies. In an op-ed for HuffPost, he said President Barack Obama "capitulate[d] to the extreme right by proving he was tough on immigration at the expense of breaking up families" by deporting record numbers of people.
View the tweets:
This post has been updated to include response from Sen. Cornyn's office.
Also on HuffPost:
The Template: California Proposition 187 (1994)
California's Proposition 187 was submitted to the voters with the full support of then Republican governor Pete Wilson. It essentially blamed undocumented immigrants for the poor performance of the state economy in the early 1990s. The law called for cutting off benefits to undocumented immigrants: prohibiting their access to health care, public education, and other social services in California. It also required state authorities to report anyone who they suspected was undocumented. <strong>Status:</strong> The law passed with the support of 55 percent of the voters in 1994 but declared unconstitutional 1997. The law was killed in 1999 when a new governor, Democrat Gray Davis, refused to appeal a judicial decision that struck down most of the law. Even though short-lived, the legislation paved the way for harsher immigration laws to come. On the other hand, the strong reaction from the Hispanic community and immigration advocates propelled a drive for naturalization of legal residents and created as many as one million new voters.
The Worst: Arizona SB 1070
The Arizona Act made it a misdemeanor for an undocumented immigrant to be within the state lines of Arizona without legal documents allowing their presence in the U.S. This law has been widely criticized as xenophobic and for encouraging racial profiling. It requires state authorities to inquire about an individual's immigration status during an arrest when there is "reasonable suspicion" that the individual is undocumented. The law would allow police to detain anyone who they believe was in the country illegally. <strong>Status:</strong> The law was signed into law by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on April 23, 2010. But it has generated a swirl of controversy and questions about its constitutionality. A federal judge issued a ruling that blocked what critics saw as some of the law's harshest provisions. House: 35-31 (4/12/2011)
Following Arizona's Footsteps: Georgia HB 87
The controversy over Arizona's immigration law was followed by heated debate over Georgia's own law. HB 87 required government agencies and private companies to check the immigration status of applicants. This law also limited some government benefits to people who could prove their legal status. <strong>Status:</strong> Although a federal judge temporarily blocked parts of the law considered too extreme, it went into effect on July 1st. 2011. House: 113-56 Senate: 39-17
Verifying Authorized Workers: Pennsylvania HB 1502
This bill, which was approved in 2010, bans contractors and subcontractors employ undocumented workers from having state construction contracts. The bill also protects employees who report construction sites that hire illegal workers. To ensure that contractors hire legal workers, the law requires employers to use the identification verification system E-verify, based on a compilation of legally issued Social Security numbers. <strong>Status:</strong> Approved on June 8th 2010. House: 188-6 (07/08/2010) <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/" target="_hplink">Flickr photo by DonkeyHotey</a>
A Spin Off of Arizona: Utah HB 497
Many states tried to emulate Arizona's SB 1070 law. However, most state legislatures voted against the proposals. Utah's legislature managed to approve an immigration law based on a different argument. Taking into consideration the criticism of racial profiling in Arizona, Utah required ID cards for "guest workers" and their families. In order to get such a card workers must pay a fee and have clean records. The fees go up to $2,500 for immigrants who entered the country illegally and $1,000 for immigrants who entered the country legally but were not complying with federal immigration law, <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2011/mar/06/nation/la-na-illegal-immigration-20110306" target="_hplink">according to the LA Times.</a> <strong>Status: </strong> Law went into effect on 03/15/2011 House: 59-15 (03/04/2011) Senate: 22-5 (03/04/2011)
The Most Comprehensive: Florida HB-1C
Florida's immigration law prohibits any restrictions on the enforcement of federal immigration law. It makes it unlawful for undocumented immigrants within the state to apply for work or work as an independent contractor. It forbids employers from hiring immigrants if they are aware of their illegal status and requires work applicants to go through the E-verify system in order to check their Social Security number. <strong>Status: </strong>effective since October 1st, 2010
The Hot Seat: Alabama HB 56
The new immigration law in Alabama is considered the toughest in the land, even harder than Arizona's SB 1070. It prohibits law enforcement officers from releasing an arrested person before his or her immigration status is determined. It does not allow undocumented immigrants to receive any state benefit, and prohibits them from enrolling in public colleges, applying for work or soliciting work in a public space. The law also prohibits landlords from renting property to undocumented immigrants, and employers from hiring them. It requires residents to prove they are citizens before they become eligible to vote. The law asked every school in the state to submit an annual report with the number of presumed undocumented students, but this part, along with others, were suspended by federal courts. <strong>Status:</strong> Approved June 2nd, 2011 House: 73-28 (04/05/2011) Senate: 23-11 (05/05/2011) <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/longislandwins/" target="_hplink">Flickr photo by longislandwins</a>