BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, the bill before us, S. 744, 1,200 pages, is promoted with high ideals, but it does not do what is promises. It is fatally flawed. If passed, it will not work--not because of the goals it states to have but because it won't work.
This flawed bill did not come about because of inadvertent errors that were a part of it, chance, ignorance, or mistake. The policies reflected in this piece of legislation came about as a direct result of the fact that the forces that shaped it had goals that were important to them, but these goals are not coterminous with and are not in harmony with the interests of the Nation as a whole.
The real politique Gang that put it together seems fine with that. They openly reported for weeks that these interests were in meetings in some room in secret, working through this legislation and their differences. Soon, they said, the Gang of 8 would have a bill that, having been blessed by these powerful special interests they had invited to the meetings, would be delivered to the Senate floor, masters of the universe that they are, all for us to adopt without complaint and with celebration.
They were so proud of this process that the eight would stick together all for one and one for all and defeat any amendment that dared to alter the delicate agreement they talked about. They would consider amendments, of course, oh, certainly. We will consider amendments, but nothing serious that impacts the fundamental agreement that we have. One would not want to disturb that delicate balance, of course, of those very sensitive forces that were in the meetings. The folks who came together only for the common good--who understood the real needs of working Americans who are out of work, who have seen their paychecks decline, who have their spouse, their husband, their wife not able to find a job, their children not able to find a job, their grandchildren not able to find a job--they weren't thinking about them.
They included Mr. Richard Trumka, the top union boss; Mr. Tom Donohue, the top Chamber of Commerce boss; the agribusiness conglomerates; the activist group La Raza. Also there were the immigration lawyers association, high-tech billionaires, having delivered magnificent computers, who now desire to deliver public policy; and the meat packers.
One must know, friends, that when the Gang of 8 said there was a fragile balance, a delicate agreement, they weren't talking primarily about the agreement they had among themselves as Senators. That was secondary. The agreement they were referring to was the special interest forces that were in that secret room writing that bill.
Those interests, those forces, had signed in blood. The Gang of 8 then signed in blood to fight off any serious objections or ideas that would violate that agreement.
Although the Gang and the cabal that had confederated and combined together to set the immigration policy for the United States of America were desperate to keep it secret, there was another dominant force involved in the legislation, and that was President Obama. His team was there every step of the way. His team, which has done more to undermine law enforcement in the immigration area than any President in history, was there every step of the way. They were surely providing much of the drafting work, the legal work, and the support to get the detail done, which the Senators, of course, didn't have time to do. They didn't have time to study all the language of the bill.
We know about this because this week Ms. Munoz, President Obama's top immigration official, formally a top official in La Raza who said it was immoral for businesses to be checked as to whether they were hiring illegal workers--she couldn't keep it a secret. She made sure to reveal to the New York Times that she and President Obama were there every step of the way, writing the bill, being engaged in it. All of this was, of course, much to the discomfort of the Gang, especially the Republicans, who had been anxious to declare the bill was written by the job creators, entrepreneurs, and the Chamber of Commerce.
It went to the Judiciary Committee for a markup, and a very favorable Judiciary Committee it was. Four of the Gang of 8 are on the committee. They started executing their plan. Senator Schumer on occasion would give Republican Gang members on the committee a pass. He was overheard on the mike saying to a staffer that Republicans can have a pass on this vote. They could break ranks--the Republican Gang members--and vote with the people on an issue that came up in Judiciary Committee as long as there were enough votes otherwise to kill that pesky amendment--and so it was in committee.
One other important thing, the money. There would be money to run campaign-like ads all over America to promote the bill, to promote the Senators, and to protect the Senators from criticism.
And who knows, maybe to provide some political contribution sometime in the future for those who vote right.
The combine had it all rolling until last week on the floor of the Senate when the wheels almost came off. Senators and the American people saw that S. 744 had more holes than Swiss cheese. Clearly, the bill lacked the simple conviction that after the amnesty occurred, the lawlessness must end. There was not a conviction anywhere displayed in that legislation that the people who wrote it had a determination not to do more than provide the amnesty and actually provide a lawful system in the future to ensure that lawlessness would not be a part of our future. You can see it in hundreds of different places.
For example, the metrics--the standards for enforcement at the border in the bill--were weakened. Current law had higher standards of enforcement at the border than the new bill, which promised to be so tough--toughest bill ever, those TV ads said. Tough as nails, Senator Schumer said. But it weakened the standards for enforcement at the border.
The E-Verify system for the workplace, which can be effective in eliminating the hiring of illegal workers, was pushed back for five years, and a whole new system was designed instead using the one currently in existence. It can occur now. The system is 99 percent effective now. Why would we want to wait 5 years, unless we really weren't interested in seeing it happen?
Interior enforcement was diminished. The ICE officers have written us and told us this will make it worse. They are diminished in their ability to enforce the law. All kinds of discretion is given that will allow lawyers to block deportations and allow politicians to avoid the carrying out of the law.
The citizenship process is deeply damaged and unable to function effectively, according to the Citizenship and Immigration Services officers who process these applications. They say there is no way they can process these applications.
An amendment I offered to have at least face-to-face interviews with many of the people--at least those who may pose some risk--was voted down. They are not even going to have interviews with the people who apply for legal status under this bill.
The entry-exit system, which provides that an individual must be clocked in when they come into the country and clocked out with a biometrics--fingerprint--system, that system was destroyed. Current law requires a biometric entry-exit system at all land, sea, and airports. This bill weakens that dramatically, makes it utterly unenforceable by changing biometric to electronic, whatever that means, and only requiring it to be at air and seaports.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. SESSIONS. I ask unanimous consent to have 1 additional minute, Mr. President.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. SESSIONS. So, Mr. President, I would say this bill fails at point after point after point after point. It is not a bill that reflects a commitment to a lawful system of immigration in the future. We will admit dramatically more people than we ever have in our country's history at a time when unemployment is high. The Congressional Budget Office has told us that wages, average wages, will go down for 12 years, that the gross national product per capita will decline for 25-plus years, and that unemployment will go up.
This is not the right thing for us to pass because the amnesty will occur, but the enforcement is not going to occur and the policies for future immigration are not serving the national interest.
I urge my colleagues to vote no on cloture, to not let this bill pass today but require that it be subjected to more amendments and more study at a time to come when we can pass legislation that will actually work. This cannot work as it is. We should not let it go to final passage today.
I thank the Chair, and I yield the floor.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT