By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R) from Alabama continues to fight the immigration reform plan written by the ‘Gang of Eight’ in the United States Senate.
Sen. Sessions said on the floor of the Senate, “A little over a year ago, this administration bypassed Congress and implemented backdoor amnesty for an estimated 1.7 million illegal immigrants through a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). This program covers aliens who entered the country illegally when they were under the age of 16 and not older than 31 as of June 15, 2012.”
Senator Sessions continued, “The minimum qualifications require the illegal immigrant to be in school, have no felony or ‘significant’ misdemeanor convictions, three or more other misdemeanor convictions, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.”
“In just a little under a year, USCIS has approved an astonishing 291,859 applicants.”
“On May 20, 2013 Ken Palinkas, President of National Citizenship and Immigration Service Council, the union representing 12,000 USCIS adjudication officers and staff, issued a press release reporting ‘a 99.5% approval rating for all illegal alien applications for legal status filed under the Obama Administration’s new deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) policies.’ Palinkas attributed the high approval rate to policies instituted by Department of Homeland Security leadership that essentially made it impossible for adjudication officers to make any real effort to root out fraud or identify dangerous criminal aliens:
‘DHS and USCIS leadership have intentionally established an application process for DACA applicants that bypasses traditional in-person investigatory interviews with trained USCIS adjudications officers. These practices were put in place to stop proper screening and enforcement, and guarantee that applications will be rubber-stamped for approval, a practice that virtually guarantees widespread fraud and places public safety at risk.’ ”
“The press release goes on: ‘The attitude of USCIS management is not that the Agency serves the American public or the laws of the United States, or public safety and national security, but instead that the agency serves illegal aliens and the attorneys which represent them. While we believe in treating all people with respect, we are concerned that this agency tasked with such a vital security mission is too greatly influenced by special interest groups—to the point that it no longer properly performs its mission.’ ”
On Wednesday, Sen. Sessions said, “Despite the fact that Congress has on numerous occasions voted to reject the flawed and loophole-riddled “DREAM Act,” President Obama last year unilaterally directed his political appointees in the Department of Homeland Security to implement the policy administratively. Known as “deferred action for childhood arrivals” or DACA, this backdoor amnesty directly usurps Congress’ constitutional role in crafting the nation’s laws.”
Sen. Sessions said that a news report from Judicial Watch confirms that the Obama Administration has effectively abandoned official background check procedures as it pressured USCIS to keep up with the hundreds of thousands of amnesty applications submitted under DACA.
Sen. Sessions said that if the administration was throwing caution to the wind to rush through the approval process for hundreds of thousands of DACA applicants, how many short cuts will it do to approve the millions of amnesty applicants that it will get with the Gang of Eight Plan? Sen, Sessions said, “Not only does the Gang of Eight bill not require in-person interviews for applicants for legal status, it also grants Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano broad discretion to determine what information must be supplied as part of a background check—virtually guaranteeing that the current dangerously lax standards will remain in place.”
Sen. Sessions said, “Why would the Senate pass a bill that makes it even more difficult to USCIS officers to identify, remove or keep out public safety threats?”
The Democratic Majority with the help of moderate Republicans like Sens. Marco Rubio (R) from Florida and John McCain (R) from Arizona have defeated efforts by conservatives to add amendments to the bill strengthening enforcement and finishing the delayed border fence. Without amendments to the legislation guaranteeing that there will be stricter security measures, it will be hard for the legislation to pass in the Republican controlled U.S. House of Representatives.
Conservative critics of the Obama administration argue that since the administration refuses to enforce existing immigration laws, how could they trust them to enforce any new stricter immigration laws.
Sen. Sessions is a former Alabama Attorney General and a former U.S. District Attorney.