Above: U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions discusses the Gang of Eight’s immigration proposal on CBS’s “Face the Nation”
As the U.S. Senate prepares to vote Monday on a 1,200-page border security amendment to the “Gang of Eight’s” immigration bill, Senator Jeff Sessions continues leading the charge against the bill’s passage.
During an appearance Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” host Bob Schieffer asked Sessions if South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham was correct in saying the GOP’s future prospects are dim if Republicans oppose comprehensive immigration reform.
“Bob, we need to do the…right thing for America and…appeal to all people, particularly Hispanics and African Americans and minorities that are here,” Sessions replied.
Schieffer then asked Sessions why he opposes the Corker-Hoeven amendment, which advocates say bolsters border security, a major concern of Sessions’.
“Well, I’m opposed to the bill because it doesn’t do what it says,” Sessions quipped. “This bill grants amnesty first, and a mere promise of enforcement in the future, even with the Corker-Hoeven amendment… These promises of 20,000 agents won’t take place, or are not required until 2021. No money is being appropriated for that… We passed a law to have 700 miles of double-wide fencing, double-layered fencing… This bill is weaker than that, and… it has a specific provision that says that [Homeland Security] Secretary Napolitano does not have to build any fence if she chooses not to, and she’s publicly said we’ve had enough fencing.”
“So the reason this bill was in trouble — the reason this amendment was thrown in here at the last minute — was because the promises weren’t fulfilled,” Sessions continued. “This amendment doesn’t fulfill its promises, either, frankly. We’re going to have amnesty first, no enforcement in the future.”
Sessions warned that the bill would result in a further increase of illegal immigration, as well as lower wages and higher unemployment.
“Why would any member of Congress want to vote for a bill — at a time of high unemployment, falling wages — to bring in a huge surge of new labor that can only hurt the poorest among us the most?” He asked.
Sessions also emphasized that the bill would dramatically lower the wages of Hispanics who are currently in the country legally, and have a negative impact on all U.S. workers — allegations he says are supported by the Congressional Budget Office, The Federal Reserve in Atlanta and Harvard economists, among others.
“Hispanics are here today by the millions,” he explained. “They’re working in the $20,000 to $40,000 income level. Their wages will be impacted adversely… somebody needs to speak up for them. And I really believe that the numbers in the bill, the lack of enforcement effectiveness in the bill, puts us in a position where it will impact all Americans that are out there working today adversely.”
Members of the Gang of Eight have indicated they have close to 70 senators ready to vote in favor of the bill, but Sessions says his colleagues are less inclined to vote for the legislation once they get more details.
“[I]t started sinking when people learned more about it,” he said. “If people find out this amendment does not accomplish what the sponsors believe it does, I think the bill could be back in trouble again.”
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