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July 29, 2014

Posts in "Immigration"

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.

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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.”

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No Border Money Unless Obama Disavows Expanding DACA, Senator Says

luncheons010 061014 445x314 No Border Money Unless Obama Disavows Expanding DACA, Senator Says

(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:

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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.

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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.

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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

June 4, 2014

Schumer Compares Steve King to ‘Wizard of Oz’ on Immigration (Video)

Nearly two weeks after Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, challenged Sen. Charles E. Schumer and other Senate Democrats to a “duel,” the New York Democrat returned the favor on the Senate floor, calling King the “wizard of Oz” on immigration.

“Steve King is much like the Wizard of Oz when it comes to immigration,” Schumer said during a 10-minute floor speech Wednesday. “He is pulling the levers behind the screen to make it seem he has the power. [The] Republican Party will learn sooner or later, like Dorothy did in the ‘Wizard of Oz,’ that actually King works by fear and he doesn’t have the power, that the wizard’s power is overstated. He can’t really do very much. And the only way to get back home and do something real is in ourselves.”

Full story

May 22, 2014

Harry Reid Offers 2017 Effective Date for Immigration, Sets August Deadline (Video)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid offered to make 2017 the effective date for an immigration overhaul Thursday so Republicans no longer can use President Barack Obama as an excuse not to pass a bill — and set an August deadline for the House to act.

“Let’s pass immigration reform today. Make it take effect in 2017. Republicans don’t trust President Obama,” Reid said. “Let’s give them a chance to approve the bill under President Rand Paul or President Theodore Cruz. To be clear, delaying implementation of immigration reform is not my preference. But I feel so strongly that this bill needs to get done, I’m willing to show flexibility.” Full story

May 19, 2014

Durbin: Pentagon Should Allow DREAMers to Enlist in Armed Forces

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate’s top defense appropriator wants the Pentagon to act on its own to allow some undocumented immigrants to enlist in the military, if the House does not move ahead on immigration legislation.

Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, who is chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, made the comments at a field hearing in Chicago, where he heard testimony from several undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children (known as DREAMers, after legislation Durbin introduced 13 years ago).

“If the House Republicans refuse to move immigration reform, the Defense Department should use its authority under current law to authorize the enlistment of dreamers. Enlisting dreamers is ‘vital to the national interest’ because it would make the armed forces more diverse and inclusive, and it would allow the armed forces to access a well-qualified, educated, homegrown talent pool,” the Illinois Democrat said in his opening statement.

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April 24, 2014

Immigration Pushback: 22 Republican Senators Rip Obama for Slowing Deportations

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Sessions (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A group of 22 Senate Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., urged President Barack Obama not to proceed with another plan to limit deportations of immigrants here illegally.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is reviewing immigration policy on Obama’s orders, with an eye toward limiting deportations that break up families — and as an immigration overhaul effort has stalled in the House.

“According to reports, the changes under consideration would represent a near complete abandonment of basic immigration enforcement and discard the rule of law and the notion that the United States has enforceable borders,” the letter said. “Clearly, the urgent task facing your administration is to improve immigration enforcement, not to look for new ways to weaken it.” Full story

March 14, 2014

Obama Will Reduce Deportations if GOP Doesn’t Act, Schumer Says

schumer110213 445x295 Obama Will Reduce Deportations if GOP Doesnt Act, Schumer Says

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After President Barack Obama’s decision to review immigration enforcement, Sen. Charles E. Schumer warned Republicans to let Congress act on the issue or Obama will curtail deportations on his own.

“It’s crystal clear where the issue of immigration reform is headed, and Republicans have only two choices to make,” the New York Democrat wrote in a post on his Facebook page. “They can either help pass comprehensive reform which will greatly reduce the flow of illegal immigrants, grow our economy by bringing in needed workers in high tech and agriculture areas, and provide a hard-earned path to eventual citizenship for the 11 million in the shadows, or they can sit idly by and watch the President greatly curtail deportations while 11 million continue to live in limbo here in America.” Full story

By Humberto Sanchez Posted at 11:52 a.m.
Immigration

February 6, 2014

‘Gang of 8′ Mixed Over Boehner Immigration Comments

The bipartisan group of eight senators who led the charge to pass a Senate immigration overhaul were mixed over whether reservations on moving a plan voiced by Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, spells the end of the effort this year.

Sen. Jeff Flake thought that the speaker was pulling the curtain down on the effort for the year.

“I don’t know how you don’t read impossible out of those statements,” the Arizona Republican said.

He added that he was disappointed. “I wish we’d do it. We can’t keep putting it off,” he said.

But others held out hope a deal could still be reached after Boehner said that an immigration overhaul package would be difficult to pass this year in large part because Republicans don’t trust President Barack Obama to enforce the laws uniformly. Full story

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