Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) appeared on the Andrea Tantaros radio show to express his reservations about the Gang of Eight immigration bill – which he said was “nowhere close to what the American people really want” – and have a little fun with his colleague, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL). Noting that Rubio has lately been expressing reservations about the border security provisions of the bill, but has been touting those very same provisions in an ad blitz over the past few months, Sessions joked that someone should tell Rubio there’s an impersonator on TV “saying vote for the bill that you recently said shouldn’t pass in its current form.”
Sessions described the current incarnation of comprehensive immigration reform as a “disastrous event,” saying that “people do want something done, but the polls show that four-to-one, the enforcement needs to come first, and amnesty second. We’ve got it just backwards in this bill, and that’s one of the fundamental problems.”
The Senate gang’s refusal to put border security first was one of several criticisms Sessions offered. He also opposes the “dramatic” increase in legal immigration contained in the bill, which he feels is unwise in a time of long-term high unemployment. He noted the bill has swelled to over a thousand pages, and is “very difficult to read,” with hundreds of loopholes and special waivers… much like another bill of great concern to the Tea Party, namely ObamaCare. Passing a bill to find out what was in it didn’t work out very well in that case, and it probably won’t work any better this time.
“I think this bill diminishes middle-class America,” said Sessions. “It’s going to make it harder for them, and their children and grandchildren, to get jobs at good wages. And also, it’s eroding the rule of law, making it more difficult for us in the future claim that our immigration laws should be enforced.”
He confessed to some worry about what the immigration reform battle would do to Senator Rubio, until now considered a rising star in the Republican Party. “Now, Marco, to his credit, is the only one of the group, the Gang of Eight, to criticize the bill. He says it needs to be improved. But he also recently said that 96 percent of it was perfect… and that’s not accurate.” Sessions found it odd that Rubio hasn’t appeared with the seven co-forgers of this legislative Excalibur for over two months.
“He wants to solve a big national problem, and it’s not easy to do so,” Sessions said of Rubio. “The problem was, we had several of our members within the Republican conference, the most liberal on immigration, who went and met with Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, Bob Menendez – the most liberal members of the Democrat conference on immigration! And with President Obama, and the special interests, they wrote a bill. And it’s not a good bill for America.”
In response to Rep. Paul Ryan’s offer to debate anyone who says the immigration bill represents amnesty, Sessions said he loved Rep. Ryan, but… “Look it’s amnesty. They have to pay a fine, it’s $2,000 over ten years, that’s about $18 a month… Amnesty is what you want it to mean. I believe for most Americans, it means somebody is basically forgiven for their error, and they’re given a full path to citizenship in the United States of America, and that’s what this bill does. It has some steps you have to undertake, but it’s still basically not requiring them to be deported, as the law requires. It allows them to stay here permanently. They’ll immediately be given Social Security numbers, and the ability to compete for any job in America immediately… and then they’re put on a path to permanent residence and citizenship… what do you call that?”
He concluded by judging the fate of the Gang of Eight bill uncertain, but said the Senate should kill it. He seemed to think that was more likely to happen in the House, whose “good work” he encouraged listeners to appreciate.