Chris Chmielenski at NumbersUSA sent out this important announcement today:
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) was named chairman of the Senate Immigration, Refugees and Border Security subcommittee this week, giving significant control over immigration legislation to Congress’ top champion of lower immigration levels and American workers. Sen. Sessions has already renamed the subcommittee “‘Immigration and the National Interest,’ as a declaration to the American people that this subcommittee belongs to them,” according to a statement on his website.
“The financial and political elite have been controlling this debate for years; this subcommittee will give voice to those whose voice has been shut out … the voice of all Americans who believe we must have a lawful system of immigration they can be proud of and that puts their interests first.”
— Sen. Sessions
Sen. Sessions’ record on immigration speaks for itself. He was the most ardent opponent of the Senate’s Gang of 8 mass amnesty bill in 2013 and has consistently spoken out against Pres. Obama’s executive actions on immigration. Earlier this month, his staff hand-delivered a 25-page memo he wrote to all House GOP in advance of their retreat, making the case for lower immigration levels and increased enforcement.
The appointment could prove to be extremely significant should new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stick to his pledge to return the Senate to “regular order”. It would mean that every immigration-related bill would have to pass through Sen. Sessions’ subcommittee before it could reach the Senate floor for a vote.
The subcommittee’s vice-chair will be another immigration-reduction champion, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.). Both Sessions and Vitter have NumbersUSA Career grades of A+.
Senate considers its options
Thank you to all of our activists who placed thousands of phone calls to Senate offices this week pushing for passage of the House-passed DHS spending bill that would defund most of Obama’s executive actions. Your calls reminded lawmakers of their midterm campaign promises and that voters won’t forget pledges to do everything in their power to stop Pres. Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
The Senate is not in session today, but will return on Monday. Debate over some bills is running longer than expected, so it’s still uncertai n when Sen. McConnell will bring the House-passed DHS spending bill to the Senate floor. But, Politico is reporting that GOP Leaders are looking for alternative solutions to stopping the President’s executive overreach should the DHS spending bill not pass.
“Top Republicans are exploring ways of escaping their political jam on immigration, with steps that could avoid a funding cutoff for the Department of Homeland Security while letting conservatives vent their anger at President Barack Obama.”
— Politico, “GOP seeking Plan B on immigration”, Jan. 21, 2015
NumbersUSA President Roy Beck protests that thinking:
We aren’t interested in venting anger; we’re interested in results that protect American workers and their families from the wage depression of Mr. Obama’s actions.
We can’t let Members of Congress off the hook! We’ll be coming to you next week with more phoning and faxing opportunities as we continue to pressure Congress to uphold its promise to stop Pres. Obama’s executive amnesties and work permits for millions of illegal aliens.
Border bill moving quickly through the House
Earlier this week, the House Homeland Security Committee passed an amended version of Rep. Michael McCaul’s (R-Texas) border bill, the Secure the Border First Act.
The bill purports to require completion of the 700-miles of double layered fencing that was authorized by the Secure the Fence Act of 2006, but in fact, counts vehicle barriers and single-layer fencing in the 700 miles, even though they don’t comply with the requirements of the law. It also requires implementation of the biometric entry/exit system that has been authorized by Congress and funded on at least six separate occasions and requires DHS to achieve “operational control” along the Southern border. But the bill allows 5-7 years for these provisions to take effect, letting the Obama Administration off the hook for its lack of enfo rcement over the last six years.
The bill’s title, however — the Secure the Border First Act — suggests that Congress should take no further actions on immigration, including guest worker programs and amnesty, until the provisions are implemented and the border secured.
It’s been pointed out by both Sen. Sessions and Jessica Vaughan at the Center for Immigration Studies that the bill throws lots of resources at the border but doesn’t actually change the current administration’s policies, including catch-and-release. Thus, this administration and future ones could intercept every person crossing the Southern border illegally, but if they’re simply issued notices to appear an d relocated to the interior of the country, it wouldn’t really stop future waves of illegal border crossings like the one last summer. So, in reality, the bill really doesn’t do anything to reduce illegal immigration.
The bill will come before the House Rules Committee on Monday and then move to the House floor during the week.
Maybe we can persuade the new Sessions subcommittee (Immigration and the National Interest) to have a look at the Refugee Resettlement Program! After three decades it needs a review!