Senate Budget Committee ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said in a statement Tuesday that House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)’s border crisis working group’s legislation is a “surrender” to a “lawless president.”
“The Obama Administration has openly declared its plan to implement a unilateral executive amnesty for 5-6 million more illegal immigrants,” Sessions said. He went on:
This unlawful amnesty–urged on by congressional Democrats–would include work permits, taking jobs directly from millions of struggling American citizens. Any action Congress might consider to address the current border crisis would be futile should the President go forward with these lawless actions. Congress must speak out and fight against them. It must use its spending power to stop the President’s executive amnesty. That the House leaders’ border package includes no language on executive actions is surrender to a lawless President. And it is a submission to the subordination of congressional power.
At issue is the House GOP bill to address the border issue, which does not include language sought by Sessions and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) to attempt to stop Obama from expanding his “deferred” deportation of certain illegal aliens to as many as six million people.
The bill includes $659 million for the border crisis and makes a few minor policy changes intended to facilitate the speedy return of tens of thousands of children who have streamed across the border this year.
Sessions said the omission of language addressing Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is infuriating.
“After years of falling wages and rising joblessness, American workers are pleading for someone to hear them,” Sessions said. “How can it be that our President is brazenly advertising that he will nullify and strip away American workers’ immigration protections, and their own elected leaders will not rise to their defense? Or to the defense of our laws and our Constitutional order?”
Sessions also argued that Boehner’s plan expedites asylum requests for illegal aliens who seek it, rather than expediting their removal from the United States:
There are other grave concerns with the Granger package as well. Because it does not fix our asylum rules and loopholes, the end result of the additional judges and hearings will be more illegal immigrants gaining asylum and access to U.S. welfare. It is a plan for expedited asylum, not expedited removal. Nor will this package make our rogue President actively enforce anything, coming nowhere close to the kinds of reasonable enforcement activities needed to restore the interior application of our immigration laws.
Sessions cited how Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) may try to include the entire Gang of Eight bill in any conference committee with the Boehner-Granger package. Sessions called on all lawmakers to refuse to support the legislation.
“And finally, a package that is silent on blocking amnesty creates an opportunity for Senate Democrats to add elements of their party’s open borders and mass immigration agenda,” Sessions said. “This legislation is unworthy of support.”
In response to the conference committee concerns, whereby Senate Democrats would try to include the entire comprehensive Gang of Eight bill in this package, Boehner issued a statement promising he would not let that happen.
“Senator Reid, embarrassed that he cannot strong-arm the Senate into passing the blank check President Obama demanded, is making a deceitful and cynical attempt to derail the House’s common-sense solution,” Boehner said. The statement continues:
So let me be as clear as I can be with Senator Reid: the House of Representatives will not take up the Senate immigration reform bill or accept it back from the Senate in any fashion. Nor will we accept any attempt to add any other comprehensive immigration reform bill or anything like it, including the DREAM Act, to the House’s targeted legislation, which is meant to fix the actual problems causing the border crisis. Such measures have no place in the effort to solve this crisis, and any attempt to exploit this crisis by adding such measures will run into a brick wall in the People’s House.
While the White House has abandoned all pretense of governing, and the Senate is doing almost nothing to address our struggling economy, Republicans remain committed to addressing the American people’s priorities, and that includes passing a responsible bill this week to help secure our border and return these children safely to their home countries.
Boehner also cited the recent statement from the Gang of Eight Republican Sens. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), saying they did not want their bill as part of any border bill package.