Sen Kay Hagan Vowed to Oppose Amnesty in 2008, then Voted for 'Gang of Eight' Bill Anyway
Sen. Kay Hagan's (D-NC) position on immigration seems to correlate with how close she is to facing voters at the ballot box.
“I oppose amnesty,” Hagan said during a June 21, 2008 debate against then-incumbent Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC):
We have got to secure the border. This too is one of the biggest domestic issues facing our country today, and we’re very late to the plate to do something about it. We’ve got to have more border security patrol officers. We’ve got to do what’s necessary to secure it, whether it’s a fence in certain places, whether it’s technology, whether we use aerial drones and sensors, secure the border.
Hagan made stopping illegal immigration a major issue in her campaign. “If we don’t do that [secure the border first], the number [of illegal immigrants] is going to get larger,” Hagan said in September 2008, according to local news outlet WRAL. “That’s where I want to start.”
In a May 29, 2008 campaign press release, Hagan’s then-spokeswoman Colleen Flanagan said that illegal immigration is “an economic and national security crisis that has only gotten worse since Senator Dole has been in Washington.”
“No one in North Carolina believes that since Elizabeth Dole was elected, enough has been done to tighten the borders, turn off the jobs magnet luring illegal workers here, or increase enforcement of the laws on the books by getting tough on employers who knowingly hire illegal workers,” Flanagan said in that 2008 Hagan campaign press release. She added, “What Senator Dole is campaigning on amounts to a band-aid solution to a massive federal problem of her own creation.”
But once Hagan was elected into the U.S. Senate in 2008, during the first major immigration debate she faced—in 2013—she voted in contravention of both of those principles. The Senate “Gang of Eight” immigration bill, S. 744, granted amnesty to illegal aliens in America—legal status immediately, then citizenship eventually—and critics assailed its border security provisions as ineffective. Hagan voted for the final passage of that bill, and helped it through a series of procedural hurdles in the Senate.
During the amendment process for the bill, Hagan also voted against a series of amendments that would have required border security and a fence at the border. On an amendment offered by Sen. John Thune (R-SD) that would have required 350 miles of double-layered fencing along the U.S. border with Mexico, Hagan voted no—helping kill that amendment.
Hagan also voted to table, or kill, an amendment from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) called the “Trust But Verify” amendment that would have required a double-layered fence be built along the border within five years, among other security measures.
Despite violating those original principles from her 2008 campaign—opposition to amnesty, and support of securing the border first—Hagan in early 2013 framed her support for the Gang of Eight bill, before voting for it, as not supporting “amnesty.”
“I oppose amnesty, but a pathway to citizenship can take a lot of different forms,” Hagan said in February 2013, according to the Raleigh News and Observer. “It can look like a lot of different things.”
In 2009, Hagan also voted against a Sen. Jim DeMint's (R-SC) amendment to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appropriations bill which anti-amnesty group Numbers USA said would have required “that the 700 miles of border fencing (which was previously approved and appropriated for) be completed.” That amendment passed in the end, 54-44, with several Democrats joining most Republicans to support it.
Hagan is seeking re-election this year against North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis, in a state President Barack Obama won back in 2008 but lost to Mitt Romney in 2012. The Democratic Party there is still recovering from a series of fatal blows that severely hindered it back in 2012, including the political breakdown of now ex-Gov. Bev Perdue and a sex scandal that took out the executive director of the NC Democratic party.
But this year on the campaign trail, unlike 2008, Hagan’s pretty much silent on the issue, not saying much about it, sources in North Carolina say.
What she has said about it, though, has been somewhat critical of the president, but not enough to fulfill her previous hardline immigration stances—at least according to immigration hawks.
A spokeswoman for Hagan recently told Politico that Hagan believes, regarding immigration matters, “this is a problem that needs to be solved legislatively and not through executive action.”
“I think this is a congressional issue, and I encourage Speaker [John] Boehner [R-Ohio] in the House to bring up a bill, to vote on a bill for immigration reform so that we can then put it into conference,” Hagan herself added, according to The Hill. “And I do support congressional action over executive action.”
But Hagan isn’t publicly calling for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to schedule a vote on the two House-passed border crisis bills—a supplemental appropriations bill with asylum crackdowns in it, and a bill that blocks President Obama from using any taxpayer money to expand or continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) amnesty or programs like it.
Senate Budget Committee ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) says that if Democrats like Hagan don’t publicly push Reid to schedule an up-or-down Senate vote on the two House-passed border crisis bills, they can’t claim to be opposed to the president’s planned executive amnesty. In fact, Sessions says that means they’re “complicit” with the president’s plans. Sessions said:
Any senator who fails to request such a vote is complicit in these planned actions. The American people have begged and pleaded for years for our immigration laws to be enforced. But the politicians have refused. Now these planned executive actions would nullify our laws, invite a massive new wave of unimpeded illegality, and strip the American people of their lawful right to have their jobs and their communities protected.
Hagan's seeming change of a position on the issue hasn’t helped her much. “The failed pro-amnesty and open border policies supported by Kay Hagan and President Obama have contributed to today’s border crisis,” Tillis spokesman Daniel Keylin told Breitbart News. “The election-year rhetoric we’re hearing from Hagan today doesn’t match her record over the last six years.”
But to make matters even worse for the vulnerable Democrat—for whom national Democrats from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) just pumped $9.1 million into North Carolina in the form of television advertising—a series of letters obtained by Breitbart News from various immigration experts and national and state law enforcement officials show that Hagan was warned in 2013 that supporting the Gang of Eight immigration bill would lead to a surge in illegal immigration, foreshadowing the current border crisis dominating American politics.
On May 9, 2013, before she cast any votes to either help the Gang of Eight bill procedurally and before her vote in favor of final passage of the bill, a consortium of law enforcement officials wrote specifically to Hagan to warn her of the impact the bill would have in increasing illegal immigration.
“Driven by mere speculation that S. 744 may be enacted by Congress, illegal border crossings have spiked dramatically,” the group of law enforcement officials, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers’ union head Chris Crane; Zack Taylor, the chairman of the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers; and 15 North Carolina sheriffs, wrote to Hagan.
“Thousands of unaccompanied children, runaways, and families now attempt to illegally enter the United States in hopes of receiving legalization,” the law enforcement officials warned Hagan, seemingly predicting the border crisis that’s now in the national news daily. “This trend will surely continue after enactment, as S. 744 provides no commitment of stronger border enforcement for at least five to ten years following the initial legalization phase. Thousands will be victimized or perish as they attempt the treacherous crossing into the United States in hopes of attaining legal status.”
That letter is hardly the only time Hagan was warned by experts of the drastic consequences—which are now coming true—of supporting amnesty for illegal aliens.
“Yesterday we held a news conference with Sheriffs from across North Carolina and the nation to raise public safety concerns about the senate immigration bill,” Rockingham County North Carolina sheriff Sam Page, who’s also a senior member of the National Sheriffs Association, wrote on June 25 in a public letter to North Carolinians.
Page continued: “Eighty (80) Sheriffs from across the state of North Carolina have signed a letter opposing the bill and detailing its many flaws. It is therefore very disappointing so see that Senator Kay Hagan from North Carolina voted yes to advance this proposal on Monday night. There is no doubt it will put the safety of North Carolina citizens at needless risk.”
That 80 sheriffs from North Carolina specifically told Hagan they oppose the bill because it would cause serious public safety risks is no insignificant number. There are only 100 counties in North Carolina, and that means that the overwhelming majority—80 percent—warned her it would be a risk.
“For instance, the legislation provides immediate legalization to gang members, domestic abusers, sex offenders, drunk drivers and those with multiple serious criminal convictions,” Page continued in that June 25, 2013, letter.
“It also provides legalization before any border security or domestic security is put in place, repeating the same mistakes of the 1986 amnesty bill. Additionally, as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have told us, this legislation ‘handcuffs’ them from enforcing the law in the future and increases national security risks,” wrote Page.
That same day, Hagan was sent another warning—this time about the “disaster” of economic effects the Senate’s Gang of Eight bill would cause to Americans. The letter, from U.S. Commission on Civil Rights member Peter Kirsanow, warned Hagan that the bill “will act as a magnet for future illegal immigration” and have a disastrous effect on North Carolinians already struggling in a bad economy. Kirsanow wrote to Hagan:
Recent history shows that a grant of legal status to illegal immigrants results in a further influx of illegal immigrants who will crowd out low-skilled workers from the workforce. Contrary to the mythology promoted by some supporters of the bill, this isn’t because low-skill Americans—regardless of race—are unwilling to work; it’s because they’re unwilling to work at the cut-rate wages (and often substandard conditions) offered to illegal immigrants—a cohort highly unlikely to complain to the EEOC, OSHA or the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor. This inexorably increases the number of low-skill Americans depending upon the government for subsistence, swells the ranks of the unemployed and reduces the wages of those that do have a job.
Also on June 25, Maria Espinoza—the head of the Remembrance Project, a group devoted to helping the families of Americans who were killed by illegal aliens—wrote to Hagan to warn her that the “current senate immigration proposal guarantees more—not less—future victims of illegal alien violence.”
Espinoza wrote that the citizens of North Carolina “would be needlessly and directly endangered by this legislation.” She continued:
The authors of this legislation worked hand-in-hand with rich businessmen and amnesty advocates, while never once considering the rights of the victims of illegal alien violence,” Espinoza wrote. “For instance, the legislation includes a provision that would create an ‘enforcement holiday’ for 2.5 years on interior immigration enforcement during the application period. Obviously, criminal offenders will take advantage of this provision to evade deportation and commit further violent crimes against our families.
Despite all those warnings to her specifically—and to others—Hagan voted for the bill anyway. The pattern here is eerily similar to how, despite claiming in public multiple times that Obamacare wouldn’t cause Americans to lose their healthcare plans, it did cause several to do so—something Hagan, through spokeswoman Sadie Weiner, admitted late last year she always knew all along would happen.
Hagan's office did not respond to requests for comment.
READ MATERIALS SENT TO SEN. HAGAN WARNING ABOUT AMNESTY EFFECTS:
North Carolina-Kay Hagan Immigration Materials