GOP Senator Asks Why Border Security Can’t Be More Like Disney World

At the second Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the bipartisan immigration bill, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) compared U.S. border security to Disney World.

Cornyn made the reference during a discussion of an amendment proposed by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) that would add a biometric entry-exit system and effectively delay the path to citizenship for years. Cornyn argued that not having biometrics like fingerprints or iris scans “could lead some people to conclude that this bill is designed to fail.”

The current bill already includes a tracking exit system in the form of a “photo tool” that expands the existing E-Verify program. Biometric information also will be collected from the undocumented applying for provisional status.

But Cornyn claimed that Disney World’s system uses fingerprints, and what’s “good enough for the Magic Kingdom” should be U.S. law:

CORNYN: My conversations with Senator Rubio, he happened to share with me that Disney World uses a biometric system to ensure people do not commit ticket fraud. If they are that easy, affordable and good enough for the Magic Kingdom, they ought to be good enough for the United States. Senator Sessions’ amendment would guarantee they would not be eligible for lawful citizenship until there is a biometric entry/exit system.

I do not know how leadership will ever do what Congress mandates them to do unless we use this trigger. It is that simple. I believe this is a constructed — constructive amendment that reaches the stated goals of protecting the United States system and making sure it is fair and workable. If we choose to ignore the 40 percent of immigration where we create a system that can be evaded, we have ignored our constituents concerns and failed to fix the problem.

Senators immediately pushed back on Cornyn’s argument. “It is true that Disney World used a fingerprint, and then when Disney Land went ahead to use their system they used a picture because it was better,” Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) said. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) added that Disney has “two ports of entry. We have 329 ports of entry in the United States, which include land, sea and air. If we are talking about being able to read cards at all ports of entry for those leaving the U.S, it is more daunting than it is at Disney World or Disney Land.”

Schumer also pointed out that Atlanta and Detroit attempted to implement a biometric system like Republicans requested. “More people got through,” he said. Responding to concerns that an individual can change what he or she looks like to escape the system, Schumer said, “you can change the way your face looks” but a visa “has to be the same. You cannot tamper with it.”

Sessions’ amendment was defeated by a 12-6 vote.