Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 1, 2015

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

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(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.”

Sessions issued his statement in response to a report of recommendations to address the border crisis and the flood of unaccompanied migrant children from a House GOP “working group” led by Rep. Kay Granger of Texas. Appropriators on both sides of the Rotunda are working to put together supplemental legislation, but the two plans are vastly different.

Sessions’ written statement appears below:

“The border crisis is the direct and predictable result of the President’s sustained policies undermining America’s immigration laws. The President’s continued determination to carry out this nullification remains the singular obstacle in the way of restoring lawfulness. It is therefore odd that the House working group did not mention President Obama even once in their released findings. Indeed, they made no mention of the President’s threat of sweeping new executive actions. Multiple reports indicate that these imminent actions are likely to take the form of administrative amnesty and work permits for 5-6 million illegal immigrants. Any attempt at improving the border situation would be rendered utterly void if the President follows through on his dramatic nullification acts. How can Congress ignore this brewing constitutional crisis? In fact, granting the President new funds without tackling these orders would be an institutional surrender to the planned illegality.

The document also appears to cement the idea that anyone who shows up unlawfully at our border is presumptively entitled to an asylum hearing in the United States. This cannot be so. We cannot allow unjustified claims of asylum to overwhelm our system. Also, because the working group does not explicitly demand a narrowing of the conditions for asylum, the end result of their plan may paradoxically be that more illegal immigrants are eventually granted asylum—enticing even greater numbers to arrive on the promise of speedy grants of lawful status.

The border security measures also raise concerns. The document calls for President Obama’s Department of Homeland Security to develop a ‘strategy’ and ‘plan’ to secure the border, which is less than what is actually required to do under current law. Meanwhile, it omits any discussion of restoring collapsed interior enforcement. If portions of this plan are as similar to the Gang of Eight bill as they appear to be, it could open the door to substantial legislative mischief in the Senate. With only days before Congress’ planned adjournment, a better strategy would be to focus on blocking the President’s threat of new executive actions—and insist that he enforce current laws—while these complex proposals are studied and revisited.

Finally, it is curious that the proposal makes no mention of the needs of Americans. Yes, this is a humanitarian crisis. But it is also a legal crisis. And so too is it a crisis for the American people who have begged and pleaded for a lawful system of immigration that serves their interests, protects their jobs, and increases their wages. Republicans should not be timid or apologetic, but present a bold defense of the American people. The House GOP has so far been the last bulwark protecting working Americans; it would be tragic for that defense to buckle in the closing days of this Congress.

  • tokm

    Senator Sessions is 100% right. It’s too bad we have a Democrat-in-GOP clothing running the House. I hope ALL the Conservative groups use this spending bill as a Key Vote.

  • TycheSD

    By far, the working Americans’ best friend in Congress.

    • Layla


  • Nunaya Biddness III

    Of course Senator Sessions is correct. Obama openly refuses to enforce or obey our laws now…thats what got us into this mess in the first place.

    Knowing that, why would any rational person believe Obama will obey or enforce any new law?

    Unless Obama and Democrats first uses his Pen and Phone to correct the policies that created this invasion and finally start to enforce our laws, its just another lie from Obama and the Dem’s.

    • richard40

      At least if they pass an enforcment only bill, no amnesty, expedited deportation, no releases within the US, which requires detainment until the deportation hearing is completed, and hold absolutely firm on it, Obama can no longer point to repubs as not taking action, and his lawless behavior will be made much clearer. Any bill that does not produce daily flights of these illegals going back to their home countries, starting within a few months, and no releases from detention, is a fraud, and a disguised amnesty.

      • Nunaya Biddness III

        And we see now Boehner & Co. and McCarthy with a wink from Wall-Street and Obama worked late to gut any protections and correction in that Bill. No BIll is better than one that sticks a knife in our back.

        • richard40

          I agree with you that no bill is better than a bad bill. And you may be right that with Reid in charge of the senate, a bad bill is all this process can possibly produce.

          • Nunaya Biddness III

            Yes, but the sad part is that the will not stop spinning and stand up with Sen Sessions to protect the American family and worker. BEst would be they pass a Pro-American Family and Worker Bill that upholds our laws.

            The Leadership need to stop the nonsense, do whats right and stand with middle Americans of all colors…No business has a right to cheap labor, and no Illegal, regardless of age, has a right to be here at all.

  • Adjoran

    Most of the money Obama requested is for HHS, which would serve and settle the illegal immigrant minors but has no role at all in border security or deportation hearings.

    Congress should add funds to ICE only for enforcement, and amend the law which gives the loophole to Central American immigrants. It was intended to combat sex trafficking, not to allow a free pass for hundreds of thousands.

    • Shootist

      Give the children to democrat donors to raise as their own.

      • Layla

        Sent the rest to camps within the White House compound.

  • Constitution First

    Undocumented Democrat voters.

  • Nick Berio

    The Republican leadership is complicit with the Administration in tearing down the borders. Wake up Republicans Boehner and the rest of those idiots a t the top have to go. They don’t have the best interest of the country in their hearts.

  • TheRealTirebiter

    DC is corrupt to the point of no return. The states must reassert their rightful authority.

  • PCH

    None of the children entering this country are doing so under the “Dream Act” executive order. Phony issue by Sessions and other Republicans.

    • richard40

      So they are doing it under other executive authority, does it matter. What does matter is most of these children are not being deported, as obama claims, but being released into the US, and then being completely lost, with no effective effort to find and deport them, defacto amnesty. Any bill that does not guarantee that at least 80% of these children get deported within one year is amnesty, no matter what dem liars choose to call it.

      • Layla

        To most Americans, this is treason. This president is impeachment material and needs to be tried for his crimes against this nation.

        • richard40

          Obama deserves impeachment, but until we have enough dem votes in the senate to convict it is a futile gesture. The best way to punish obama now is by punishing his party, at the election both, until his own dem party is as sick of him as we are.

  • Layla

    There are two issues that will not pass the American people: No amnesty for ANY WHO BROKE THE LAW to get here, and no bill WITHOUT securing the borders first.

    Doing either of these against the will of the American people WILL get you voted out of office, both sides.

  • submandave

    Maybe I’m looking at this too simply, but the way I see it for each child there are only two possibilities: they are runaways, in which case the only responsible thing to do is to return them to their parents, or; they have been abandoned by their parents, in which case they should either be available for adoption, if desired, with all former family connections legally severed, or, if not adopted, returned to their country of origin so local authorities may handle them as they would any other abandoned child and, as appropriate, prosecute their parents for any legal violations.

  • Steve Dose

    Every Democrat needs to tell the truth and run on it. Amnesty, discretionary border security, a pen and a phone.

  • richard40

    Any bill passed in the repub house that cannot guarantee that at least 80% of these recent arrivals (including 80% of the kids and any relatives who arived with them), who voluntarily surrendered at the border, are not deported within one year, is a defacto amnesty, and a complete sellout. And the Obama bill will definitely not produce that result, it will more likely do the opposite, releasing the majority of them to live in the US practically forever, until they get permanently amnestied.

  • Layla

    Fortunately, a situation like this will result in the entire Congress being voted out of office.

    Bring it on, November is coming.

    • richard40

      If repubs will be smart enough to actually vote to enforce the borders for once, and make sure this latest wave is deported (or at least make sure the law clearly says that they should be, if Obama wants to defy the law yet again that will be tough to stop), I agree the repubs should make big gains in congress and the senate. I also agree that if the repubs are fools, and miss this opportunity to make a real statement on border security, then they will deserve to lose.

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