U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement today expressing his concern over Chairman Leahy's latest declaration of his intent to rush through an immigration bill before the American people know what is in it:
"I was alarmed by Chairman Leahy's letter to Senator Rubio in which he rejects the GOP call for thorough and full consideration of any comprehensive immigration bill. Chairman Leahy's letters to both Senator Rubio and to Committee Republicans reveal a determination to rush a bill through before the public can get involved in the process. Chairman Leahy, Leader Reid, and President Obama once again want Congress to pass a far-reaching bill before the American people know what's in it. Now that the special interests have what they want, the deal has been made: force it through and set the public interest aside.
Chairman Leahy's mention of the possibility of maybe holding a single hearing is not a pledge of openness, but a confirmation of our suspicions. A sound committee process will take months--not the two-week timeframe Chairman Leahy has outlined--and will require extensive hearings to understand every major component of reform, including:
How the immediate legalization of millions of illegal workers will impact unemployed Americans
How a further increase in the number of guest workers will impact unemployed Americans
How the wages of legal workers and legal immigrants will be affected by the future flow of low-skill immigrants and chain migration
The long-term cost to taxpayers, especially as illegal immigrants become eligible for most welfare and public benefits once granted green cards and citizenship
Tracking visa overstays
Metrics for establishing border security
Resuming and strengthening cooperation with local law enforcement
Resolving the concerns of ICE officers, including the abuse of prosecutorial discretion and so-called deferred action
Ensuring that the currently unenforced public charge law is enforced
Ensuring proper input and evaluation from the law enforcement community
These are only some of the many complex, serious, and emotional issues that must be addressed in detailed public hearings. Failure to commit to this kind of open process is tantamount to an admission that the bill is not workable and will not stand up to public scrutiny."