Obamacare set a nasty precedent in Washington: radical and unpopular legislation is developed behind closed doors and then passed quickly, without time for sufficient public scrutiny.
Tragically, this is exactly what is happening on Capitol Hill as the so-called “bi-partisan Gang of Eight” Senators (four Democrats and four Republicans) is working with the Obama White House to craft broad, sweeping changes to our immigration enforcement system with a shocking lack of transparency.
Some U.S. Senators don’t like the backroom dealing on this so-called “comprehensive immigration reform.”
In fact, on March 19, 2013, Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee – sans two Senators from the so-called “Gang of Eight” (Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jeff Flake of Arizona) – sent a letter to Chairman Patrick Leahy issuing a simple request: “provide all members of the Senate, and, most importantly, the public, a full and fair opportunity to become adequately informed on illegal alien amnesty discussions and legislation.”
Here are a few excerpts from the letter I’d like to share with you:
- As you are aware, this [amnesty] bill potentially could be the most dramatic and consequential alteration of our immigration system in nearly 30 years, impacting nearly every aspect of our legal and economic structure, and increasing entitlement spending to historic levels.
- Accordingly, we respectfully request that the public be given adequate time, consistent with past practices in handling complex comprehensive immigration legislation, to read and analyze the contents of any such bill before it is listed on the Committee’s Executive Business Meeting agenda. We further request that during this time, the Committee hold hearings on the overarching issues integral to the legislation.
- We believe the process we have set forth is necessary not only to ensure that members are properly educated on this complex measure, but also to ensure a fair and open process so that the American people know what is in any such bill.
The letter also noted that, during debate over immigration reform in 1982, Congress held 100 hours of hearings and hosted 300 witnesses. Debate over the bill lasted for three years.
And this time around? Senator Leahy has one measly hearing on the calendar, scheduled for this week – despite the fact that the amnesty legislation has not been presented yet! Not good enough, say Senate Republicans. According to Fox News: “Republican senators complained… that plans to hold just one hearing on a yet-to-be-unveiled immigration overhaul are ‘unacceptable’ – as they continued to press for more details on how much the legislation could cost taxpayers…”
Senator Jeff Sessions, a vocal critic of the secretive nature of the amnesty negotiations, issued a strong statement on Wednesday of last week rebuking Senator Leahy for “doubling down” on his plan to rush the bill through Congress:
The process that Chairman Leahy has described – a single hearing on a potentially 1,500 page bill – is unacceptable. It is an explicit rejection of the process demanded by Judiciary Committee Republicans and endorsed by Senator Rubio.
To acquiesce to such a process would be to accept the Majority’s plan to rush through this massive legislation before the American people know what’s in it. Now that the special interests have what they want, the deal has been made: force it through and set the public interest aside.
Senator Sessions called for a hearing “on every component of reform, including the extraordinary potential costs to taxpayers, the impact on wages and job prospects for the unemployed, and the Administration’s continued refusal to enforce the laws previously enacted by Congress.”
Now it’s your turn. Contact your Senators today and tell them your views on whether amnesty should be rushed through Congress. The phone number for the Capitol Hill switchboard is 202-224-3121. And here’s a link to a site where you can find the contact information for every U.S. Senator.
Senate liberals, open border Republicans, and their special interest illegal immigration allies want to shut you out of this debate. Don’t let them.