A day before the one-year anniversary of the passage of the Senate immigration bill, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) argued Thursday that Senate Democrats are unserious about real immigration reform.
“How can any of us relax at an Independence Day barbecue next week knowing at this very moment the nation’s sovereignty is being eroded?” Sessions asked, in reference to the flood of unaccompanied illegal immigrant minors crossing the southern border.
“So, Mr. President, I think we failed in our session. We’ve not responded to the crisis that’s on our border, and we could have made real progress, but there’s a lack of will and a lack of willingness to act. And I’m disappointed to see that fact,” he said.
The Alabama immigration hardliner argued that Congress should consider working though recess while the ongoing crisis of unaccompanied minors crossing the southern border illegally continues and the system “is crumbling about us.”
“I’m asking my colleagues that we ought to stay here. Why don’t we stay here and work on this crisis?” Sessions asked. “I intend to request that we do so and have done so, and offered unanimous consents to bring up legislation that would help improve the situation. But that’s been objected to.”
Sessions had attempted to streamline two enforcement bills to the Senate floor – an E-Verfy bill and legislation to prevent illegal immigrants from fraudulently obtaining billions of dollars in child tax credits. Sessions’s efforts met objections from Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, a member of the bipartisan Gang of Eight that pushed a comprehensive immigration bill through the Senate last year.
“A week before the July 4th holiday, America can’t even protect its own borders, and what do our democratic colleagues wish to do? They want to adjourn this chamber, go home to their barbecues, work on their reelection campaigns, and promise while they’re home they’re fighting to end the lawlessness at the border while doing nothing – while actually doing nothing but objecting to legislation that would make a real difference,” Sessions said.
Since October more than 52,000 unaccompanied minors, largely from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, have crossed the southern border illegally, many – according to Customs and Border Patrol agents – believing they can stay.