After the recent Paris terrorist attacks, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty must be blocked for national security reasons and warned that America’s lax enforcement policies regarding visa overstays “will cost us in the future.”
“It is a national security imperative to stop this executive amnesty,” Sessions said on the Senate floor, emphasizing that Congress has to restore basic “bread-and-butter” immigration enforcement.
Noting that nearly 40% (five million) of America’s illegal immigrants overstayed their visas, Sessions said that anyone concerned about America’s national security should be “resolutely focused on this task,” especially since there is “so much that can be done with relatively little difficulty if we have the leadership and the will to get it done.” Under Obama’s executive amnesty, immigration officials have been instructed to deport only those who have committed the most violent of crimes, which will presumably enable nearly all who have overstayed their visas to remain in the country.
Sessions said America has to have “better screening” of those attempting to enter from “high-risk regions of the world” and it is “perfectly legitimate for the visa and immigration system to serve the interests of the American people.”
“Someone doesn’t have a constitutional right to come to America,” he said, adding that the federal government should screen people from “high-risk” areas more carefully. He noted that immigration from the Middle East, for instance, is the “fastest growing” category of new immigrants.
But the federal government’s current screening policies are lax and America does not even have an “operable visa exit system,” which Sessions said was incredible.
“This is so bizarre because it is not expensive, it can be implemented rapidly, it will work, and give us valuable information if we are serious about this crisis,” he said, noting that the country had to be serious about the issue because the Paris terrorists left the country and came back after they were reportedly trained in a terrorist camp in Yemen.
He said that under the Obama administration, “nothing happens to visa overstays” unless they commit violent and heinous felonies.
“This is now the acceptable policy of this government at this very moment,” he said.
Citing the 9/11 Commission’s report, Sessions said that the “entry-exit visa system is an unappreciated” and “important part of American immigration law and it is critical to the national security of the United States.”
Sessions, who called for more a biometric visa system, noted that the 9/11 terrorists overstayed their visas and the Boston Marathon bombers received asylum. He noted that the Christmas bomber was a refugee from Somalia and the immigrant who had plotted to bomb a courthouse in Connecticut was a Moroccan who had a revoked student visa.
He asked what “forces” and “special interests” are preventing the federal government from more thoroughly screening immigrants who enter and leave the country.