U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement today on the amendments he is filing to the Gang of Eight immigration bill in advance of the Thursday mark-up:
"Unfortunately, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have had less time to review this nearly 1,000-page bill than the special interests who wrote it behind closed doors.
The Gang of Eight plan fails to live up to every major promise of its sponsors. There's no border fence. There is no practical back taxes requirement. And illegal aliens will become eligible for every federal benefit, costing taxpayer trillions. It undermines enforcement and weakens our lawful immigration system.
Some of the amendments I have filed try to repair the damage this bill does to enforcement, public safety, and national security. I have also offered amendments to close the many welfare loopholes in the proposal.
One particularly crucial amendment I have filed defends American workers. This bill would authorize a dramatic surge in permanent low-skill and chain migration--and would bring in millions more temporary foreign workers--at a time when 90 million Americans are outside the labor force and nearly 50 million are on food stamps. The result would be lower wages and more unemployment.
The amendment I have offered would cap the number of foreign workers granted admission to the country, and immigrants granted legal status, at approximately 30 million over a decade, with a shift to a more merit-based system over the low-skill surge in the proposed legislation. 30 million, while considerably lower than what the Gang of Eight has proposed, is still an extremely high number and must be reduced further. But this amendment is a starting point in scaling back the extraordinary and unacceptable future flow in this bill. Reasonable immigration levels are also necessary to promote assimilation.
Already, one of the bill's chief sponsors has admitted it will have trouble in the Senate and can't pass the House. If even the modest amendment I have offered fails, it is exceedingly difficult to see a way forward for this bill. There is simply no public support for a tripling of the immigration flow into this country as this legislation calls for."