House Rules Committee Chairman Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) lost a key endorsement from an anti-amnesty group to his primary challenger, Tea Party activist Katrina Pierson, on Monday.
After a Breitbart Texas story uncovered videos on which Sessions said he supports granting legal status to millions of illegal aliens in America, Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC) announced it is dropping its eight-year long endorsement of Sessions and shifting its support to Pierson.
“Pete Sessions had a lot of people really fooled into thinking he was a supporter of America’s existing border and immigration laws,” William Gheen, ALIPAC’s president, said in a press release. “We were shocked to find out he is one of the Republican sellouts trying to change our existing laws to ‘accommodate’ and legalize millions of illegal aliens which would eventually permanently degrade America’s borders, laws, Constitution, and elections!”
ALIPAC also added Sessions to its list of Republicans in Congress who “support John Boehner’s plan to help Obama pass amnesty for millions of illegal aliens in America.” That list, which includes many other members of the House GOP conference like Reps. Jeff Denham (R-CA), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), and House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), who have endorsed attempts to move on immigration legislation in 2014.
Late Saturday evening, Breitbart Texas uncovered a series of videos from town hall events Sessions held in 2013 in which he stated he supports granting legal status to millions of illegal aliens to “accommodate” them, as long as they are here in America “for the right reasons.”
“I believe that my colleagues in the House have on a sheet of paper designed a system that would accommodate millions of people who are here for the right reasons, millions of people who today may be illegal–illegally here–but who would be handled fairly under a process,” Sessions is seen saying on one video from 2013.
Later in the clip, Sessions added that while he thinks illegal aliens who have “committed serious crimes” should not be allowed to stay in America, those who have not should be granted some form of legal status.
“We got to worry about trying to define these things and trying to separate–being here is one matter, being a criminal and dangerous to this country is another, because if you come to this country legally, you have to pass a background check and that background check is something that I believe is still difficult for some,” Sessions said. “But if you’re here truly for the right reason, I think the vast majority of people are here and they would be welcomed. I think we have to separate that fact from the rest.”
Sessions’ re-election campaign spokesman confirmed that the congressman, a powerful chairman and close ally of House Speaker John Boehner, believes that illegal aliens should be granted some form of legal status. He added that Sessions believes granting legal status to illegal aliens is not “amnesty,” arguing that legal status does not mean providing citizenship.
Senate Budget Committee ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), not to be confused with Congressman Pete Sessions who is the focus of this story, published a “Myth vs. Fact” document earlier this year that in part argues that individuals who achieve “legal status” would easily be able to obtain citizenship shortly thereafter.
“Any path that leads to a green card for someone who is currently ineligible for a green card because they violated U.S. immigration laws, such as the Senate bill, is a special path to citizenship,” Sen. Jeff Sessions wrote in that document. “Like the Senate plan, the House plan provides legal status and work authorization first – the fundamental grant of amnesty,” he added.
Pierson, Pete Sessions’ primary challenger, has also earned the support of several Texas grassroots leaders ahead of the Tuesday election because of Sessions’ support for amnesty. On Monday afternoon, Tea Party Patriots’ Citizens Fund announced that it was endorsing Pierson–and that she was the first endorsement of the 2014 cycle for the group. A large part of the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund endorsement, the group’s president Jenny Beth Martin said, is due to Sessions’ support for amnesty.
“There is already a legal path to citizenship for those wishing to immigrate to the United States,” Martin said in her statement. “Katrina knows anyone who decided to get off that path and enter the United States illegally should not be given any sort of amnesty or reward from Congress, for it is neither fair nor equal treatment under the law. We applaud Katrina Pierson for taking a stand against those who have stepped off the legal path and we reiterate her campaign slogan, it’s time to put ‘Americans first! No more excuses.'”