‘I am here today to speak up for the great majority of Americans who believe that the time is long overdue for the federal government to fulfill its commitment to end the lawlessness at our borders. Only once we do that can we put this matter behind us and move forward in a positive and united way…
‘Every few years it seems the Washington ‘masters of the universe’—who have willfully and deliberately failed to follow through on consistent promises that we would end immigration illegality—begin to discuss some form of amnesty. They continue to incentivize illegality but remain unwilling to take the necessary steps to secure the border on behalf of every American…
‘The way forward for our country, the right way to end the bitterness and develop common solutions for all residents, is to first secure the border as Americans have asked us to do year after year. And this Congress and this administration has failed to do so. We must rebuild that trust before any other actions can be taken… We must follow through on our commitments that have been made to the public.’
WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, spoke on the Senate floor yesterday about the need for Washington to follow through on its commitment to achieve a lawful immigration system and a secure border on behalf of every American. Sessions raised concerns about renewed efforts to push for amnesty, actions taken by the Obama Administration that have undermined the rule of law, and a scandal regarding billions of dollars in tax credits that have been distributed to illegal immigrants for claimed dependents living in foreign countries.
A rush, partial transcript follows:
“I am here today to speak up for the great majority of Americans who believe that the time is long overdue for the federal government to fulfill its commitment to end the lawlessness at our borders. Only once we do that can we put this matter behind us and move forward in a positive and united way.
Securing the border, and enforcing immigration law, is especially important in these difficult economic times. Illegal labor depresses wages and makes it more difficult for out-of-work Americans to find good-paying jobs.
Immigration security is also vital to stopping cartels, who are creating violence around our borders and in our cities. The federal government has a duty to protect those living in communities which suffer every day from preventable drug and gang violence. There is nothing compassionate about looking the other way when we can take concrete action to make our schools and communities safer in every part of the country. There is nothing compassionate about a policy which makes it harder to protect immigrants who are in our country and Americans in our country from drug and gang violence starting at our border today.
Unfortunately, instead of compelling sanctuary jurisdictions like the city of Chicago to cooperate with federal law enforcement officers, the administration has instead gone after those states trying to assist federal law enforcement.
Under new guidelines, if the Department of Homeland Security doesn’t consider someone a ‘priority,’ that individual’s deportation proceedings are closed and they are allowed to remain in the country. So far, the Administration has granted this form of backdoor amnesty to almost 17,000 illegal aliens, some of whom have been convicted of a crime.
The Administration has also been resistant to the popular E-Verify program, never once including it in any of its jobs or economic plans. ICE has also effectively ended worksite enforcement operations, meaning that employers can continue to hire illegal workers rather than out-of-work Americans.
A determined president could take meaningful steps to stem the tide of illegality, and I have been encouraged by Governor Romney’s comments on this issue. This is something I have worked at for some time and I am absolutely convinced that—with consistent, smart, effective leadership and a commitment on behalf of this country to end the lawlessness—it can be done, done quicker, and with less difficulty than most people realize. For example, he recounted the following conversation he’d had with Border Patrol agents: ‘they said, when employers are willing to hire people who are here illegally, that’s a magnet, and it draws them in. And sanctuary cities, giving tuition breaks to the kids of illegal aliens… Those things also have to be stopped. If we want to secure the border, we have to make sure we have a fence, determining where people are, enough agents to oversee it, and turn off that magnet. We can’t talk about amnesty, we cannot give amnesty to those who have come here illegally.’ I think that is correct.
Another example of how our country is so out of control is this government’s failure to fairly uphold the rule of law with regard to additional child tax credit. The Treasury Department’s Inspector General reported that in 2010, the Internal Revenue Service paid illegal aliens a staggering $4.2 billion in child tax credits for dependents that don’t even live in this country. This has been going on for years. It cannot continue. It must be stopped. The fixing of it cannot be delayed.
The Treasury Inspector General report states: ‘Although the law prohibits aliens residing without authorization in the United States from receiving most Federal public benefits, an increasing number of these individuals are filing tax returns claiming the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), a refundable tax credit intended for working families. The payment of Federal funds through this tax benefit appears to provide an additional incentive for aliens to enter, reside, and work in the United States without authorization, which contradicts Federal law and policy to remove such incentives.’ …
The Treasury Inspector General stated: ‘Millions of people are seeking this tax credit who, we believe, are not entitled to it. We have made recommendations to the IRS as to how they could address this, and they have not taken sufficient action in our view to solve the problem.’ That is not acceptable. Four billion dollars is a great deal of money. Four billion dollars a year is about $10 million a day…
Every few years it seems the Washington ‘masters of the universe’—who have willfully and deliberately failed to follow through on consistent promises that we would end immigration illegality—begin to discuss some form of amnesty. They continue to incentivize illegality but remain unwilling to take the necessary steps to secure the border on behalf of every American.
For example, just this week my friend Senator Durbin said that the DREAM Act is a bill that says, ‘if you graduate high school and you have no serious problems when it comes to convictions or moral issues and you either complete service in the military or 2 years in college, we will put you on a path… toward becoming legal and becoming a citizen.’
But we have examined this legislation and in its most recent version it would grant amnesty to millions of people here regardless of whether they go to high school, finish college, or serve in the military… And the bill is certainly not limited to children. It would apply to illegal immigrants who are in their thirties now and—because the bill has no cap or sunset—will remain eligible for the rest of their lives at any age to claim this benefit. And, once they are naturalized, those granted DREAM Act amnesty will then have the legal right to petition for entry of their family members, including their adult siblings and the parents who caused their illegal presence in the United States to begin with—easily tripling the number of green card holders…
The bill’s amnesty provisions are so broad that they are open to those who have multiple criminal convictions—misdemeanors that could include drunk driving and even sexual offenses. But the bill goes even further, offering safe harbor to those here illegally with pending applications them even if they pose a risk to the safety of Americans. This is especially dangerous because the safe harbor would also apply to those from terror-prone regions in the Middle East.
In fact, the DREAM Act altogether ignores the lessons of 9/11, going so far as to open eligibility to those who have previously defrauded immigration authorities—as did many of the 9/11 hijackers…
We need to have a plan. The way forward for our country, the right way to end the bitterness and develop common solutions for all residents, is to first secure the border as Americans have asked us to do year after year. And this Congress and this administration has failed to do so. We must rebuild that trust before any other actions can be taken… We must follow through on our commitments that have been made to the public.
It is time to end the lawlessness, not surrender to it. With determined leadership from the White House we could solve the problem at our border, restore the rule of law, put an end to the border violence, and create a sane, just, and lawful system of immigration that befits a country as great as ours.”