Appearing on the Bill Bennett radio program on Wednesday morning with guest host U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner Peter Kirsanow, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said that Americans have “rejected” the Senate’s Gang of Eight immigration bill despite pressure from amnesty advocates to pass it.
The interview aired a few hours before House Speaker John Boehner publicly promised the American people and the House GOP conference there would be no conference committee negotiations with the Senate on the Gang of Eight bill. Kirsanow asked Sessions why the bill, at the time, seemed to still have some life in it.
“This corpse of immigration reform, the Gang of Eight bill, is still flopping about,” Kirsanow asked. “And this is a sophisticated audience. They’re not easily fooled by reports that say ‘immigration reform is dead.’ That it ‘doesn’t have any prospect of going anywhere at least this year or even next year with the upcoming election and how it would be a damper on it.’ How do you assess where things are in the House and the prospect that immigration reform may still have some life left in it?”
Sessions responded by saying that while the American people are opposed to the bill, House Republicans have given off a bit of a mixed vibe when it comes to how they planned to deal with it. “Well, we just don’t know,” Sessions said. “But I am worried. I do think it’s possible the House could move a piece of legislation and conference with the Gang of Eight Senate bill. But I’ve felt most Americans have rejected [the Gang of Eight bill] flatly as being an extreme piece of legislation.”
“So then you end up with a bill that’s just not good for America. So we’re getting mixed messages from our colleagues in the House,” he continued. “Some are saying they want to move forward and some are saying not. Some are saying the bill is dead and won’t come back up, but some are saying that could be lulling us all into a false sense of security. So I do think that those people who care about it need to keep an eye on it and maybe contact their House members to reflect and give them their views.”
Kirsanow asked Sessions why members of Congress would advocate for something that would be detrimental to American workers, and help foreigners over helping Americans.
“Who do we represent?” Sessions asked rhetorically in response. “We represent the American people. The majority of the American people, by far, a substantial majority, are working Americans who live on a salary and they hope to do better each year and this huge surge of immigration is a direct factor in reducing their wages. We’re seeing a decline in wages, not an increase, and this is in large part–when you have more labor, the price of labor goes down. So first of all, we need to know who we’re representing.”
Sessions added that he thinks “some of the CEOs think we exist to provide them all the foreign labor they desire at any given time.”
“They don’t get to set the immigration policy in America,” Sessions said. “Immigration policy in America should serve the national interest, not the interests of a few multi-billionaire CEOs. I mean, give me a break. This is fundamental to what our country is about. So we need a lawful system of immigration.”
When asked about what America would look like if amnesty and Obamacare were implemented alongside one another, Sessions said he thinks it would present “tremendous problems” that would be a force acting like a “magnet” to bring more of the world’s poor to America seeking healthcare and other benefits from the growing welfare state.
“So if you can come to America and you know that you’re going to have relatively free healthcare, I think that is a magnet,” Sessions said. “And I think that’s what you’re saying about the welfare state.”
“Professor [George] Borjas at Harvard and others have written that the billions of poor people around the world economically, and freedom and the quality of life, would be better if they could come to the United States,” he explained. “But our policy must serve the national interest. And we simply have to recognize that the whole economy will destabilize if we don’t manage our immigration policy wisely. The attraction of healthcare and welfare benefits definitely distorts the normal situation and could overwhelm the United States financially if we don’t watch it.”
Kirsanow, an expert on the economic effects of amnesty who has testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee against the Senate bill, followed up by asking whether or not the American people can trust President Barack Obama to implement a future promise of law enforcement, border security, and interior immigration enforcement in any reform deal that ever became law. This question is especially relevant since it is now known that Obama lied when he promised dozens of times that Americans could keep their healthcare plans if they liked them to get Obamacare passed.
“This is an important question, and I said when this debate revived itself that the president had himself by his refusal to follow and enforce basic laws that that refusal had undermined any ability for this president to get big legislation passed,” Sessions responded. “What good is it to pass a law that promises enforcement then you refuse to enforce it, which is exactly what’s happening today?”
“We have the situation in which the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers have voted no confidence in their supervisors, have said they are being systematically blocked from enforcing the law and actually filed a lawsuit in federal court saying that they are being required to violate their oaths of office to enforce the law from directives from above,” he continued. “I mean, think about that.”
Sessions concluded by saying he thinks America has “a very serious problem here” with regards to the lack of trust in President Obama, and that the “president should establish credibility first before he asks for amnesty.”