- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 9, 2006

Immigration should be treated as a national security issue, Sen. John Cornyn yesterday told a gathering of conservative activists.

“The federal government needs to obtain operational security of our borders,” the Texas Republican said in a speech to the 33rd annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington.

“We are proud to be a nation of immigrants … but we are also a nation of laws,” said Mr. Cornyn, warning that other nations, including Mexico, must “have respect for this country’s laws and our nation’s sovereignty.”

He said human traffickers, drug smugglers and criminal gangs from Brazil, China and other countries are “using Mexico as a point of entry into the United States.”

Mr. Cornyn, whose appearance capped a morning of speeches and panel discussions devoted to border issues, drew applause when he said he would push for a Senate bill to provide “a comprehensive solution” to U.S. immigration problems “that does not include amnesty.”

Earlier CPAC discussions highlighted what Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies called the “gap between elite and public opinion” on the issue.

“That divide … really is what drives the debate,” said Mr. Krikorian, who sparked laughter with his remarks on proposals by President Bush and others for an immigrant guest-worker program.

“It’s the Nigerian e-mail scam of immigration. It’s obviously false, but people keep falling for it over and over,” Mr. Krikorian said, noting that in other countries with such programs, most “guest workers” become permanent residents.

Veteran conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly suggested that guest-worker proposals would create a separate caste for foreign laborers.

“We don’t want a servant or serf or peasant class,” the Eagle Forum president said.

Rep. J.D. Hayworth, Arizona Republican, opened one morning panel by emphasizing the issue of border enforcement.

“In the spirit of Ronald Reagan, who said his grand strategy for the Cold War was this, ‘We win, they lose,’ let me propose this simple notion …: Let’s enforce existing laws, and then move to close loopholes that exist that others game and take advantage of,” Mr. Hayworth said. “‘Enforcement first’ should be our call to action.”

Colin A. Hanna, president of Let Freedom Ring, a public-policy organization that advocates enhanced border security, noted that the U.S.-Mexico border is one “between two allies,” but said that “recently, the Mexican government has not acted like much of an ally in addressing illegal immigration.”

CPAC attendees signaled their mood with loud cheers for Chris Simcox, president of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, a group that has made headlines with its civilian border vigils.

“I’m tired of hearing sheriffs from Texas … begging and pleading for military support because they’re outmanned and outgunned on the borders,” said Mr. Simcox, who called the inflow of illegal aliens and drugs “terrorism that’s affecting the lives of people who live along the border.”

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