Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 23, 2014

Posts in "Immigration"

October 21, 2014

10 Questions for Eric Holder’s Replacement as Attorney General

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Cruz, left, and Sessions both sit on the Judiciary Committee and will have a change to grill the nominee for attorney general. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Eric H. Holder Jr.’s replacement as attorney general will face a grilling from the Senate Judiciary Committee after the elections, with the position key to enabling President Barack Obama’s pen-and-phone executive agenda and with numerous hot-button issues under the purview of the Justice Department.

The nominee to replace Deputy Attorney General James Cole, who is also leaving, will also face much the same treatment.

Here are 10 questions the nominees will likely hear:

1. What is the limit of the president’s executive authority on immigration? Full story

October 16, 2014

Democrats Press Homeland Security on Massive Immigrant Detention Center

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Johnson faces pressure from top Democrats concerned about plans to build a 2,400-bed detention center for illegal immigrants in Texas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 5:04 p.m. | A group of 10 Democratic Senators, including the party’s leaders, raised concerns with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson over plans for a massive new detention facility for immigrants here illegally.

“This decision threatens to make permanent a practice of presumptive detention for families and marks a reversal of this administration’s family detention policy,” the letter said.

“We fear that the result will be the ongoing detention of asylum-seeking women and children who have shown a credible fear of being returned to their home country and pose no flight risk or danger to the community,” the letter continued. “We are particularly concerned with the negative consequences of long-term detention on the physical and mental well-being of young children.” Full story

September 9, 2014

Reid Warns of Shutdown Showdown Over Immigration (Video)

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Cruz said Tuesday it would be appropriate to add language blocking a “pen and phone” approach from the president on immigration. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday that if a band of Republicans press for language blocking executive actions on immigration, they’re inviting a government shutdown.

“If I have anything to do with it? No, no, no,” the Nevada Democrat said of allowing a vote on such a proposal, as sought by a group of Senate and House conservatives led on the Senate side by Ted Cruz, Jeff Sessions and Mike Lee.

Asked what happens if the senators insist on considering it as part of the continuing resolution debate that’s expected next week, Reid pointed to a risk government funding could lapse.

Full story

August 5, 2014

Sessions Warns Obama’s Immigration Plans ‘Unlawful’ (Video)

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(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Prior to effectively adjourning for five weeks, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., used Tuesday’s Senate session to hammer President Barack Obama for proposing changes to immigration enforcement at the end of the summer without consent from Congress.

The administration is reportedly considering an executive order to provide deportation relief and work authorization cards to 5 million to 6 million of the more than 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States, which Sessions called “unlawful.”
Full story

July 31, 2014

Sessions, Cruz Helped Sink Border Bills

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Cruz, left, and Sessions helped scuttle border supplementals in both the House and Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated, 9:32 p.m. | Two southern Republican senators — Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Ted Cruz of Texas — played outsized roles sinking border supplemental bills on both sides of the Capitol as they demanded a push to end President Barack Obama’s “administrative amnesty.”

Sessions had ripped the House’s border bill as “surrender” to Obama’s plans to reportedly grant deportation relief and work permits to as many as five million more people in the country illegally. And Cruz rallied Republicans to back his legislation aimed at “stopping President Obama’s amnesty.”

Asked Thursday evening about his influence over House members, Sessions told CQ Roll Call, “I’ve been very clear on my views about what the key issues are. The president’s stunning declaration that he’s going to issue a massive amnesty requires Congress to appropriately respond. I think the best way to do that is through the power of the purse and so I just felt that — and I’ve been clear about it so the House members will make up their own mind.”

When pressed on whether he lobbied the Alabama delegation about the House bill, Sessions told CQ Roll Call, “I told them how I felt.” Full story

Senate Fails To Pass Border Supplemental (Video)

Updated 7:56 p.m. | The Senate failed to pass a $3.6 billion emergency supplemental spending package, most of which was designed to deal with the tens of thousands children illegally emigrating from Central America.

Hours after House GOP leaders had to pull their own $659 million bill, Republicans used a budget point of order by Senate Budget Chairman Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., to kill the Senate bill on a 50-44 vote, 10 votes shy of the 60 votes needed.

Full story

July 23, 2014

Sessions: ‘Colossal Error’ to Pass Immigration Spending Without Blocking ‘Administrative Amnesty’

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(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Jeff Sessions says it would be “institutional surrender” for the House to advance an immigration spending bill without preventing President Barack Obama from expanding “administrative amnesty” for millions of additional unauthorized immigrants.

The Alabama Republican made that case in a lengthy statement circulated Wednesday afternoon, and he expanded on those views in a brief conversation with CQ Roll Call.

“I think it would be a colossal error to pass any kind of legislation that does not prohibit the president from granting legal status to five or six million people, as he’s indicated he intends to do,” Sessions said. “I’m baffled that the House talking points didn’t deal with that … The House principles didn’t address President Obama’s failure to execute the laws and expressed no concern about that danger.”

Full story

July 22, 2014

Mikulski Set to Unveil Emergency Spending for Immigration Crisis (Video)

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(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara A. Mikulski plans to introduce a $3.57 billion emergency supplemental spending package on Wednesday.

The Maryland Democrat’s emergency bill primarily deals with the crisis of unaccompanied migrant children, but it also would provide funding for fighting wildfires and make a payment to Israel for the Iron Dome missile defense system. A Senate Democratic aide said the package is expected to reach the Senate floor early next week, which would make it one of many pieces of a pre-recess push.

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had deferred to Mikulski in regards to announcing the plan earlier Tuesday.

Full story

July 21, 2014

Reid Predicts Veterans’ Health Bill Will Fall, Fears Gridlock on Border Supplemental (Video)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Monday predicted Congress would fail to pass a fix for the veterans’ health crisis  — and worried the same could happen with the border supplemental to address the child migrant crisis.

“We had a big show here, not long ago, where we provided $35 billion to help veterans. We’ve spent trillions of dollars in two wars, unpaid-for by the way. That’s what President [George W.] Bush wanted, and that’s what he got,” the Nevada Democrat said in a floor speech.

Full story

July 15, 2014

Reid Says Border Already Secure (Video)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid asserted bluntly Tuesday ”the border is secure.”

The Nevada Democrat was citing comments made during Tuesday’s caucus luncheon by New Mexico Democrat Martin Heinrich.

Asked about a bipartisan, bicameral proposal from a pair of Texas lawmakers, Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn and Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar, Reid said that based on what he had seen, “the answer from me is no, I won’t support it.”

Full story

No Border Money Unless Obama Disavows Expanding DACA, Senator Says

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(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Jeff Sessions is calling on his fellow lawmakers to reject any new spending to address the immigration crisis at the border until President Barack Obama disavows any plans to expand deportation relief known as DACA.

The Alabama Republican made his plea in a “dear colleague” letter circulated to Senate offices on Monday. In the letter, he said the possibility of more executive actions on immigration “threatens the foundation of our constitutional Republic.”

“Certainly, DACA and the President’s other numerous unlawful policies must be terminated,” Sessions wrote. “But as a first step, Congress must not acquiesce to spending more taxpayer dollars until the President unequivocally rescinds his threat of more illegal executive action.”

The Sessions letter comes ahead of an all-senators briefing on Wednesday on the Obama administration’s roughly $3.7 billion request for emergency supplemental appropriations to address the crisis at the border. The full text appears below:

Full story

July 10, 2014

Cornyn, Durbin Highlight Divide on Immigration Supplemental

If you want to see the Senate’s divide on a supplemental spending package to address the flood of unaccompanied migrant children crossing the border, look no further than the chamber’s two whips.

In separate conversations with reporters, Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas and Democratic Sen. Richard J. Durbin of Illinois expressed different concerns about the crisis.

Durbin said he was not comfortable rolling back part of a 2008 trafficking law without first getting some answers about the well-being of the unaccompanied minors who would be sent back to potentially volatile situations in Central America.

Full story

July 8, 2014

Hobby Lobby, Immigration Supplemental At Top of Reid’s July Agenda (Video)

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Reid says he doesn’t support offsets to the White House’s supplementary spending bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., plans a packed July work period with the Senate expected to consider a raft of bills, including a Democratic response to the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision and the emergency immigration supplemental spending bill.

“We have so much to do this month,” Reid said after a meeting with his Democratic colleagues. “At the caucus that I just completed we weren’t able to get through all the issues. So we have to finish our work on Thursday just to talk about them.”

Reid said a top priority is taking action in response to the court’s 5-4 ruling that closely held corporations did not have to provide contraceptive services as part of health insurance plans if they have religious objections.

“The one thing we are going to do during this work period, sooner rather than later, is to ensure that women’s lives are not determine by virtue of five white men,” Reid said. “This Hobby Lobby decision is outrageous and we are going to do something about it. People are going to have to walk down here and vote. And if they vote with the five men on the Supreme Court I think they are going to be treated unfavorably come November.” Full story

July 7, 2014

McCain: Cut Aid to Countries Fueling Immigration Crisis

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McCain wants to cut aid to countries fueling the immigration crisis. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A GOP architect of the Senate’s immigration plan is calling for at least threatening to cut aid to Central American countries that don’t take steps to stop the flow of unaccompanied migrant children to the United States.

“We should tell these countries in Central America that no more aid, no more assistance, no nothing until they stop this from happening,” Arizona Sen. John McCain told KFYI radio in Phoenix.

Full story

June 11, 2014

Senate Democrats Hope Immigration Bill Is Still Possible, Despite Cantor Loss

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Democratic leaders hope there is still a chance that Congress can act on overhauling immigration laws, despite Tuesday’s shocking defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

“My personal feeling is no,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said when asked at a news conference whether Cantor’s loss meant that the issue was dead.

“I think there is such wide support for this legislation,” Reid said, adding that “in the district that Leader Cantor lost [there was] heavy support for immigration.” Full story

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