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Sessions, Cruz, Lee & Grassley team up to fight gang of eight immigration bill

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) today joined with Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in sending a letter to their Senate colleagues highlighting ongoing concerns with the Gang of Eight’s Senate immigration reform bill.

The group of staunchly conservative senators criticized the back-door deal that was struck by Gang of Eight members and Democrats on the Judiciary committee prior to the committee’s markup of the bill, which prevented any significant changes to the legislation.

The Senate Judiciary Committee went on to approve the bill before taking a one-week recess last week.

“Americans expect their government to end the lawlessness, not surrender to it. They deserve immigration reform with actual border security, enforcement of the laws on the books, and a legal immigration system that works,” the senators wrote today. “We must welcome and celebrate legal immigrants, but S. 744 fails to deliver anything more than the same empty promises Washington has been making for 30 years.”

The senators also criticized the length of the bill and the process by which it was written.

“The last thing this country needs right now is another 1,000-plus page bill that, like Obamacare, was negotiated behind closed doors with special interests. We want immigration reform to pass, but only if it actually fixes the broken system, rather than allowing the problems to grow and fester.”

In the letter, the senators highlight rejected amendments that they believe would have drastically improved the bill as well as amendments that were accepted that make the bill even worse. They point to several areas of concern in the current bill that must be addressed on the Senate floor in order to pass effective legislation, including:

  • Provides immediate legalization without securing the border
  • Rewards criminal aliens, absconders, and deportees and undermines law enforcement
  • Contains extremely dangerous national security loopholes
  • Facilitates fraud in our immigration system
  • Creates no real penalties for illegal immigrants and rewards them with entitlements
  • Delays for years the implementation of E-Verify
  • Does not fix our legal immigration system
  • Advanced through a process predicated on a deal struck before markup
  • Rewards those who have broken our laws by offering a special path to citizenship


Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) said today that the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill will come to the Senate floor for debate next week. The bill’s proponents are hopeful it will pass before they break for their Fourth of July holiday.

Sen. Reid also claimed Tuesday that minority leader Mitch McConnell was threatening to hold up debate on the immigration bill because of a dispute over Obama nominees that require Senate confirmation. A McConnell spokesman later deined that was the case. However, McConnell did express concerns with Senate Democrats changing the body’s rules that allow filibustering of executive nominees.

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