Sessions slams Leahy for immigration rush

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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Sen. Jeff Sessions, the top Republicans on the Senate’s budget committee, is pushing back at Democrat Sen. Patrick Leahy’s newly publicized commitment to rapidly push a massive immigration rewrite through the Senate’s Judiciary Committee.

“No member of Congress who believes in democratic procedure can acquiesce to the ramming through of a thousand-page bill that will dramatically and directly impact the taxes, wages, and security of our constituents,” Sessions said in a statement to The Daily Caller.

The pending Senate bill would provide amnesty to 11 million illegal immigrants, ease immigration by their extended family members and allow companies to bring in large number of guest workers for unskilled and professional jobs.

Roughly 20 million Americans are already unemployed or out of the workforce, and are increasingly dependent on government.

The bill is being drafted by top Democratic senators and four Republican senators, including Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Marco Rubio.

The rush could create a problem for Rubio, who told his supporters that he would not support a bill that was pushed through without extensive hearings.

“There’s gonna be public hearings,” he told Rush Limbaugh Jan. 29.

“I don’t want to be part of a process that comes up with some bill in secret and brings it to the floor and gives people a take it or leave it. I want this place to work the way it’s supposed to work, with every senator having input and the public having input,” he said.

Leahy’s promise of a rush follows a a statement by border security chief Janet Napolitano that the pending bill would not delay benefits for illegal immigrants until border security had been clearly improved.

In contrast, Rubio has said the immigration bill must include some form of “trigger” that would delay benefits until the border is more secure.

In his March 21 letter to Sessions, Leahy said “I have gone out of my way to protect the rights of the [Republican] minority on the Committee … [but] I intend to proceed to comprehensive immigration reform with all deliberate speed.”

“I hope and expect you will not delay consideration simply to prevent the legislation from moving forward,” said Leahy.

In his March 27 statement, Sessions said that “Chairman Leahy effectively informed committee members that he has every intention of moving on a rushed timetable that would make it impossible for lawmakers or the public to properly assess a bill of this magnitude.”

“The Chairman’s suggestion that we don’t need hearings on this new proposal because we have held immigration hearings in the past misses the entire point: the massive proposal being cobbled together by a group of senators in secret must be independently judged and reviewed by the Judiciary Committee in the full light of day,” said Sessions.

“That will take months–not two weeks–and will require hearings on every aspect of this issue: protecting American workers and wages, protecting our public benefit programs and ensuring enforcement of the public charge law, evaluating the size, scope, and impact of any guest worker program, tracking visa overstays, etc.,” Sessions said.

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