Senate Budget Committee ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) told Boston’s conservative radio host Howie Carr on Wednesday that the political momentum is starting to turn against the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill.
When Carr asked the senator if this process behind the push for this bill is the “same thing as Obamacare” where “we have to pass it so we can read it,” Sessions replied: “Absolutely, it really is.”
“That is exactly what it is,” Sessions said. “They’re selling the sizzle. They’re selling the smell. And it’s a shoe leather instead of a steak.”
Carr said that though everyone can agree that the immigration system is “broken,” Americans should not support the Gang of Eight bill because it would make the system “worse.” Instead, Carr argued people should support a yet-to-be-introduced solution that actually solves the problems at hand and this issue does not need to be an all-or-nothing deal with the Gang of Eight bill.
“That is exactly correct,” Sessions responded. “And Professor [George] Borjas at Harvard, the leading expert on immigration and labor, has made so clear in his work that basically what he concludes is any benefit to this economy is at the expense of lower income workers’ salaries going down.”
When Carr asked if Gang of Eight supporters had the votes to pass the bill in the House or Senate, Sessions said that they are claiming they have it in the Senate. “But I think the tide is beginning to turn,” Sessions said. “A lot of people, like myself, I thought the bill was better than it is based on what I hear the proponents say. But as we examine it, we realize that this is going to be a disaster. It’s going to be a disaster for enforcement, it’s going to be a disaster for our budget, it’s going to be a disaster for the wages of American workers, it’s going to add to our financial deficit, Social Security and Medicare are going to be impacted over the long term by trillions of dollars in unfunded liabilities and these numbers are not going to be disputed if we go forward.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), a Gang of Eight member, recently said the bill could not pass the House as is, a sign it is in serious trouble. On Sean Hannity’s radio program on Wednesday, Rubio said the bill “quite frankly, may struggle to pass the Senate” because it does not effectively enforce border security as originally promised.
On the recently discovered loopholes in the Gang of Eight bill that would allow illegal immigrants access to welfare benefits for illegal immigrants, Sessions said “of the 11 million people here today illegally, over half do not have a high school diploma. And statistics and careful analysis shows a huge percentage will qualify for all kinds of these government programs. We’ve also discovered, Howie, that the people that are coming legally, about two-tenths of one percent, virtually nobody, is being rejected based on the requirement that you should not be a public charge. In other words, we’re not even enforcing that requirement and it’s certainly not going to be enforced with regard to those that will be given amnesty.”
“Any smart nation would say ‘we want immigrants, but if you’re not able to take care of yourself, if you’re going to come in and be dependent on welfare, you don’t get admitted,'” Sessions added.
The welfare loopholes allowing illegal immigrants access to public benefits is a major stumbling block for the Gang of Eight.
Rubio is even now joining his Gang of Eight colleague Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) in acknowledging that their bill contains a massive loophole that will allow illegal immigrants access to state and local benefits. “I think what he’s talking about is state and local benefits, and I would just say that yeah, if a city or a county or a state legislature decides to give benefits to illegal immigrants or someone who was previously illegally in the country, you know, they have a constitutional right to do that,” Rubio told Hannity on Wednesday in response to Sessions’ criticisms. “I would disagree with that position, and people should take it up with their state legislator or their governor or their county commissioner or what have you.”