Tag Archives: cornyn

These Republicans Want to Put Ankle Monitors on the Sponsors of Undocumented Children

Mother Jones

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Two top Texas Republican lawmakers have been working on a border security and immigration enforcement bill with input from the Trump administration, according to multiple reports—and it pulls few punches.

Most notably, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn and House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul’s bill would force the sponsors of undocumented immigrants between the ages of 15 to 17 who show up unaccompanied at the border to wear ankle monitors so that the teens don’t skip out on deportation hearings. The sponsors are typically parents or other family members—many of whom are legal residents or citizens.

The use of ankle monitors on migrants themselves is already controversial. Mother Jones has previously reported that through for-profit companies, and at the cost of thousands of dollars, ankle monitors are offered as alternatives to long-term detention for migrants who can’t afford the lump sum of their bail, even though the monthly payments can eventually overshadow the original bail amounts. Requiring the sponsors, instead of the migrants, to wear the ankle bracelets appears to be an unprecedented step further.

The early “discussion draft” of the bill also calls to increase criminal prosecutions for immigrants who cross the border illegally, including establishing a five-year minimum prison sentence for those who re-enter the country after being deported. It would expand the use of mandatory detention for immigrants arrested within 100 miles of a border who are from countries other than Mexico or Canada—the overwhelming majority of migrants entering the United States come from Central America. It seeks an increase in detention space, allows for financial reimbursement to states that deploy their National Guard to the border, and calls for more immigration judges to speed up deportations. It calls for various border wall upgrades, but stops short of providing for Trump’s long-promised “big, beautiful” border wall.

On Tuesday, a congressional aide told Politico that the bill circulating is “really old” and “nowhere near the current draft.” But it’s unclear what has changed. While the bill is aimed at avoiding the pitfalls of the far right, hardline anti-immigrant groups have come out against it, arguing that because it lacks imposing sanctions on businesses that hire undocumented immigrants and does not provide for Trump’s border wall, it is toothless. “There’s not a single thing about worksite enforcement or anything at all against employers,” Jessica Vaughan, the director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, told the Washington Post. “It’s tinkering around the margins.”

Both the offices of Cornyn and McCaul declined to comment on the bill, including whether the latest draft still includes a mandate forcing undocumented children’s sponsors to wear ankle monitors.

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These Republicans Want to Put Ankle Monitors on the Sponsors of Undocumented Children

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One of Trump’s Top Picks for FBI Chief Pooh-Poohed the Trump-Russia Scandal

Mother Jones

President Donald Trump told reporters over the weekend that he would “make a fast decision” on his nomination to replace James Comey, the FBI director he fired in part due to, in Trump’s words, the “Russia thing.” Trump’s sudden and brazen decision to remove Comey amidst the ongoing FBI investigation into possible ties between Trump associates and the Russian government earned him a week’s worth criticism — even from a few Republicans. But at least one of the possible nominees Trump is considering would pose a significant problem. If picked to be FBI director, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) would manage an investigation that he has shown very little interest in seeing pursued.

The idea of nominating a Republican politician to the post has been criticized by members of both major parties. “John Cornyn under normal circumstances would be a superb choice to be FBI director,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said this weekend on Meet the Press. “But these are not normal circumstances.” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the senior Democrat in the US Senate, echoed Graham’s concerns about Cornyn. “First, the nominee should be not a partisan politician, not part of either party. This demands a serious, down-the-middle investigation,” Schumer said.

Cornyn does have some of the typical resume lines for an FBI director. Before he was elected to the US Senate in 2002, Cornyn served as a district judge in Texas, a judge on the Texas Supreme Court, and as the state’s attorney general. But like many of his GOP colleagues in the Senate, Cornyn has been less than enthusiastic about the FBI’s investigation into the president’s ties to Russia. As a member of the Senate judiciary committee, Cornyn has said that the Russia affair should be investigated, but he has generally focused more on intelligence leaks and the issue of “unmasking“—the process of revealing the identity of an American incidentally caught up in US surveillance of foreign targets—that has been used by Republicans to distract from Moscow’s meddling and to support Trump’s unfounded claim that former President Barack Obama spied on him.

During a May 8 committee hearing on Russian interference during the election—where witnesses John Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, and Sally Yates, the former acting attorney general, talked extensively about the Russian intervention and the national security threat posed by Michael Flynn during his short stint as Trump’s national security adviser—Cornyn used his time to slam Susan Rice, Obama’s national security adviser, for not appearing before the committee, to decry the supposed “unmasking” of Flynn, and to press Yates on why she had refused to defend Trump’s Muslim ban in court. He did not address the main issue at hand: Vladimir Putin’s effort to undermine an American election.

Two days later, after Trump had fired Comey, Cornyn told reporters that it was a “phony narrative” that Trump had fired the FBI director in response to the Russia investigation. A day later, Trump, in an interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt, did say that the Russia investigation was part of his motivation for booting Comey.

Cornyn hasn’t always shown the same reticence to dive into politically sensitive investigations. In September 2015, he asked then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch to appoint a special prosecutor in the Hillary Clinton email investigation. At that time, Cornyn argued that the political appointees in Obama’s Justice Department weren’t capable of mounting an independent investigation. But these days, Cornyn resists calls for a special prosecutor in the Russia scandal. Cornyn’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

In December, Cornyn downplayed the Russia matter on Twitter:

“We’ve got a chance to reset here as a nation,” Graham said over the weekend. “The president has a chance to clean up the mess that he mostly created. He really, I think, did his staff a disservice by changing the explanation. So I would encourage the president to pick somebody we can all rally around, including those who work in the FBI.”

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One of Trump’s Top Picks for FBI Chief Pooh-Poohed the Trump-Russia Scandal

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