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After losing his absconders vote, Mr. Cornyn outmaneuvered Mr. Kennedy on another issue, getting the Senate to pass an amendment waiving confidentiality for illegal aliens who apply for but are denied legalization. With Mr. Cornyn’s amendment, which passed 57-39, the Department of Homeland Security could now use that information to track down rejected aliens and deport them.

Mr. Kennedy strenuously opposed the amendment, his face turning red as he thundered against it on the Senate floor.

“If the Cornyn amendment is adopted, there are no individuals that are going to register for any of these programs, none,” he said. “This is a report-to-deport amendment.”