The bipartisan Senate group pushing immigration reform, dubbed the “Gang of Eight,” dropped their bill at 2:25 a.m. The bill clocks in at 844 pages long, and the group’s dead-of-night filing of it means they missed their deadline.
A Senate GOP aide mocked the bill’s dead-of-night release. “As wise moms around the country often warn: ‘nothing good comes after midnight,'” the aide told Breitbart News.
In a joint statement, the Gang of Eight senators said that they think the nation’s “immigration system is broken and it is time for a national conversation about how to fix it. We believe common-sense immigration reform is vital in order to secure America’s borders, advance our economic growth, and provide fuller access to the American dream.”
“Our bipartisan proposal is a starting point, and will be strengthened by good-faith input and ideas from across the ideological spectrum,” they said. “We look forward to multiple Senate hearings on this bill, an open committee process with amendments, and a full and fair debate in the Senate.”
“Gang of Eight” member Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), widely viewed as the leader of the group, said in a release that he thinks the “bill marks the beginning of an important debate, and I believe it will fix our broken system by securing our borders, improving interior enforcement, modernizing our legal immigration to help create jobs and protect American workers, and dealing with our undocumented population in a tough but humane way that is fair to those trying to come here the right way and linked to achieving several security triggers.”
“”While I believe this legislation is a strong conservative effort that will accomplish all these things and tries to make the best of the imperfect reality we face, it’s not perfect,” Rubio said. “But I am also confident that an open and transparent process that welcomes public input is going to make it even better.”
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), an opponent of the Gang of Eight’s efforts, has already found some holes in the bill. In a statement to be released later on Wednesday, Sessions said that the bill does not solve the interior immigration law enforcement issues and does not solve economic problems.
“In recent years interior enforcement has been significantly undermined,” Sessions said. “And yet our interior enforcement needs are almost totally neglected in the Gang’s proposal. Alarmingly, the bill leaves intact the single greatest obstacle to immigration reform: the Administration’s abuse of prosecutorial discretion to prevent the enforcement of federal law. It will also provide safe harbor to those who have committed a variety of offenses–ranging from identity theft, to multiple immigration violations, and even those with criminal records.”
“Economic concerns abound as well,” Sessions added. “The legislation fails to resolve the Administration’s failure to comply with existing public charge law–an endemic flaw in our legal immigration system.”
Sessions also said he thinks this bill “would economically devastate low-income American citizens and current legal immigrants.”
“It will pull down their wages and reduce their job prospects,” Sessions said. “Including those legalized, this bill would result in at least 30 million new foreign workers over a 10-year period–more than the entire population of the state of Texas. This at a time when 90 million Americans are outside the labor force and a record number of our citizens are on welfare.”