When Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) accused Republicans opposed to spending federal funds to implement President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty of threatening the nation’s security, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) had to set the record straight on Thursday.
Senate Democrats have used the filibuster and blocked the House’s Homeland Security spending bill, which funds the department except for Obama’s executive amnesty, three times, and Sessions said Democrats like Durbin are putting Obama’s executive amnesty, which also undermines the country’s security, ahead of funding the department.
Earlier in the day, Durbin said he has “been trying to understand what is holding up funding for the Department of Homeland Security” and accused Republicans of undermining an agency that was created after the 9/11 attacks.
“Have you ever heard of a filibuster?” Sessions asked Durbin. “What about the filibuster you’re leading to block the bill that funds Homeland Security? I mean, how much more obvious can the answer be to what’s holding up funding for the Department of Homeland Security?… You and your team of filibusterers. That’s what it is. There is no doubt about that. We need to get this straight.”
He said Durbin should not blame “Republicans for not attempting to fund Homeland Security” because “the whole world knows who is blocking the bill that funds Homeland Security.”
“The house has passed a bill. They have sent it to the senate. More than a majority of the Senators have voted to pass the bill and fund the Department of Homeland Security, and you as the Democratic whip are leading the filibuster to block it from even coming up on the floor so amendments can be offered,” Sessions said. “That’s the answer to your question.”
Sessions said that Durbin is “basically saying we’re not going to allow the bill to come up for a vote, and we’re going to blame the Republicans for blocking the bill.”
“Now, what kind of world are we living in?” he asked.
Sessions then addressed Durbin’s claims that defunding Obama’s executive amnesty would threaten national security, asking, “how does taking funding from the lawful, authorized policies of homeland security that’s supposed to identify people unlawfully here, to identify terrorists and do other things to make america safe… how does taking money from them to… [give executive amnesty to five million illegal immigrants… make us safer?:
In fact, Obama’s immigration actions, according to Sessions, may undermine the country’s national security.
Sessions referenced remarks by Kenneth Palinkas, the president of the National Citizenship and Immigration Services Council that represents immigration agents, who emphasized that the 9/11 hijakers overstayed their visas and Obama’s executive amnesty would threaten the country’s national security. As Sessions noted, Palinkas has said due to Obama’s immigration actions, “instead of meeting our lawful function to protect the homeland and keep out those who pose a threat to U.S. security, public health or finances, our officers will be assigned to process amnesty for individuals residing illegally inside the nation’s borders. This compromises national security and public safety while undermining officer morale.”
Sessions also pointed out that Obama’s executive amnesty will “weaken national security” because terrorists or drug dealers who are in the country illegally are not going to ask for Obama’s executive amnesty and continue to “work their wicked will” while those looking to do harm but do not have criminal records will apply for amnesty and work permits.
The Alabama Senator noted that there is “very little dispute” in the House bill about Homeland Security being funded. Sessions said that the bill simply said that Obama’s executive amnesty, which the Los Angeles Times estimates will cost up to $484 million, would not be funded. Sessions pointed out when the costs to state and local governments in addition to various tax refunds and credits are factored, Obama’s executive amnesty will cost much more.