Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) spoke out against the “Gang of 8” immigration bill. Many complain the bill puts amnesty ahead of border security, but Lee says there are bigger problems in the bill. Even if the border security part is strengthened, Lee claims four other parts remain weak.
The bill limits Congressional oversight of the executive branch, which allows the branch to enact the new laws in their preferred method. Congress is held accountable by the citizens and this bill keeps both out of the loop on immigration.
By passing this bill, Congress would turn over almost all authority to the executive branch to secure or not secure the border, verify or not verify workplace enforcement, certify or not certify visa reforms.
And, of course, the administration will begin the legalization of 11 million illegal immigrants, with no input from Congress, as soon as possible regardless of how much progress has been made on the border and other priorities.
The law would put the Secretary of Homeland Security, a position not elected by the people, in charge of immigration. Lee points out that last year the government published over 82,000 pages of new rules and Congress never saw them. This bill would only make it worse.
This bill will make that problem worse by granting similarly broad discretion to the Secretary of Homeland Security to create the rules and regulations that will determine how the bill is implemented, as well as authorize the Secretary, in hundreds of instances, to simply ignore immigration law.
While I can certainly see why members of Congress would not want to take responsibility for the consequences of this mess of a bill, that is not how our republic should function.
Lee explained the bill is unfair to those who did come here legally. One constituent told Lee how she spent years and thousands of dollars to do it the legal way and is on a nonimmigrant visa. The visa expires in 2017 and she hopes it will be renewed. But this bill will punish her and reward those in America illegally.
Meanwhile, those who have broken the law by their illegal presence in the United States will not only be allowed to stay where they are, not only be allowed to live where they now live, not only be allowed to work where they now work, but they’ll be put on a path toward eventual citizenship at the same time that she and many others like her will have to go back to their home country. It seems to be rewarding those who have broken our laws, while, in relative terms, punishing those who have attempted to abide by our laws in good faith.
The most important part, since it affects everyone, is the cost of the bill. The Heritage Foundation reported that it will cost $6 trillion, yet people on both sides disagree with this assessment. Lee argues that, even if people disagree with the Heritage figure, this bill will certainly cost a lot of money:
If they believe the Heritage Foundation is wrong, that’s fine. But they should tell us how much they think it is going to cost taxpayers. So far, we have heard nothing.
There are reports that Democrats have asked the Congressional Budget Office to evaluate the bill, but the report won’t be published until next week. That’s unfortunate. If they are really concerned about the cost, and want it to be part of the debate, this should have been done long ago.
You can watch his full speech here: