U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement today concerning the "Gang of Eight' immigration proposal based on what has been leaked by its members, and emphasized that that plan as described would grant amnesty before enforcement occurs:
"While the Gang has not briefed lawmakers or the Judiciary committee about their plan, they have leaked selected details to the press which seem to confirm Senator Schumer's recent declaration that "First, people will be legalized Then, we will make sure the border is secure.' For instance:
Instead of securing the border first, it merely requires DHS to submit a plan (within six months) to achieve modest enforcement goals at some point in the next 10 years in exchange for an immediate grant of amnesty. History tells us the enforcement part will never effectively happen.
Even the border security's future targets are weak: the plan only requires DHS to state what resources DHS needs in order to apprehend 90 percent of those the Border Patrol sees--but not those who successfully evade Border Patrol altogether.
Increased security is called for only in certain areas of the southwest border, leaving huge vulnerabilities to cartels and other illegal crossers.
There is no requirement to complete the 700 miles of double-layer border fence that Congress has previously mandated (less than 40 miles of which have been completed).
Interior enforcement components are also delayed until after the amnesty occurs, including a five-year delay in the implementation of E-Verify.
The plan calls for an "electronic" exit system to track visa overstays at air and sea ports. However, Congress has required--through a 17-year old mandate that has been ignored--that the exit system must be biometric and be implemented at all ports of entry, including the largest port--our land borders. GAO has said that without this biometric exit system, DHS cannot track visa overstays.
The plan's guest worker program as described is not temporary and will allow for one million foreign workers to enter the country each year and eventually apply for green cards and citizenship.
Based on what has been leaked, and current ICE directives, it could become nearly impossible for ICE officers to distinguish between those illegal immigrants eligible for legal status and those ineligible for legal status--including future illegal immigrants who will simply assert they are amnesty-eligible. It is likely millions of current and future illegal immigrants who are not administrative "priorities" will benefit from this amnesty regardless of whether they meet the Gang's criteria. That is why it is so essential that these enforcement issues be worked out first.
This is also why it is so troubling that Chairman Leahy has rejected the GOP request for multiple hearings and that members of the Gang of Eight have publicly announced their intention to oppose any amendments. To proceed along these lines is tantamount to an admission that the bill is not workable and will not withstand public scrutiny."