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Sessions Critical of Gang of Eight Immigration Proposal

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions has studied the Gang of Eight’s controversial immigration proposal and has found several areas that he has identified as potential weaknesses with the plan which would give amnesty to millions of illegal aliens already living here and would open the border to more legal immigrants.

Sen. Sessions said in a written statement, “Today, Senator Flake’s office put out a statement which said in part: ‘After at least 10 years, if the six security triggers are met and the backlog of legal immigrant applicants has been cleared, then, and only then, will those currently here illegally have the ability to apply for a green card – and even then, they still will not be eligible to receive any federal benefits. The earliest any person who meets these requirements could naturalize and become an American citizen is after having spent three years in the U.S. with a green card. The result is that for at least the next 13 years, millions of people already living in the U.S. will begin paying taxes without receiving any benefits…’ This simply isn’t so. The bill provides a five-year pathway to citizenship for 2–3 million illegal immigrants—of any age, including those previously deported—who claim DREAM eligibility. These illegal immigrants will be eligible for all federal assistance—and will be able to bring in an unlimited number of parents, spouses, and children in just five years. Illegal ag workers will get green cards in five years and will be able to apply for citizenship in 10. The families of illegal immigrants (including elderly parents) now living outside the country will be eligible for federal benefits as soon as 10 years from the passage of the bill.”

Sen. Sessions continued, “Additionally, the ‘triggers’ aren’t triggers at all. The mass legalization occurs immediately in exchange for even weaker promises of future enforcement than those rejected in 2007. The Secretary decides to build as much or as little fencing as she wants. She decides whether undefined border effectiveness has been achieved. And she decides whether a commission—which has no enforcement authority—is created. And if any of these are tied up in court after 10 years the Secretary is required to allow illegal immigrants to apply for green cards regardless.”

Sen. Sessions said, “ No language in the bill requires the Secretary to construct any fence at all. Given that Sec. Napolitano has said multiple times that no further fencing is necessary, Americans can be certain that very little fencing will ever be built. (In effect, this legislation further weakens a 2006 law which required 700 miles of double-layer fencing, only 36 miles of which were constructed.)”

Senator Sessions continued, “The second so-called trigger, the “Southern Border Security Commission,” is not even formed unless the Secretary determines, five years after legalization has already been granted, that she failed to meet the bill’s weak targets. It is entirely up to the Secretary whether her plans are “substantially completed” and “substantially implemented”—both undefined. Thus, the existence of the Commission is entirely up to her, and the Commission itself only issues recommendations (if it chooses) with no enforcement power.”

Sen. Sessions said, “The bill also repeals the proven E-Verify workplace enforcement system. That system is then replaced with a new, untested system from which day laborers appear to be exempt—and which does not even have to be fully in place for five years, leaving a huge gap for new illegal workers to enter the workforce.”

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Sen. Sessions concluded, “Eligibility for state and local benefits could be immediate in the many states where public aid and assistance programs are provided to ‘lawfully present’ aliens. Meanwhile, the long-term costs, particularly for Social Security and Medicare, would be enormous, with millions of lower-income illegal immigrants receiving more in net benefits then they contribute. These are only some of the many flaws in the legislation—and why the rush to pass it before people know what’s in it is so dangerous.”

Senator Sessions has been a vocal critic of the Obama administration’s poor track record on enforcing current immigration law and the complicated Gang of Eight immigration proposal that supporters are trying to rush through the Senate.

Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III has represented Alabama in the Senate since his election in 1996. Prior to that Sessions was Alabama Attorney General and the U.S. Attorney for South Alabama.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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