House Speaker John Boehner’s top committee chairman says he wants an immigration bill that would allow millions of foreign migrants to stay and work jobs sought by Americans.
“I’m going to use my assets and resources in the new year to work with this Congress… to have a well-understood agreement about what the law should be, and how we as communities, and farm communities, and tech communities, create circumstances where we can have people be in this country and work, and where not one person is quote ‘thrown out’ or ‘deported,’” Rep. Pete Sessions, the chairman of the powerful House rules committee, told a group of Democratic legislators.
The committee has the power to kill or boost members’ bills because it decides how each bill will be considered in floor votes.
Sessions’ promise of de-facto amnesty to Democrats was welcomed by Chicago Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who frequently describes unauthorized migrants as members of his community.
“My heart was filled with a lot of joy when you said that people who are working here, who don’t present a danger, basically should be set aside, that those aren’t the people we should be going after,” said Gutierrez, four hours and 16 minutes into the hearing.
The Dec. 3 hearing took place the evening before Boehner announced he would not even try to defund Obama’s Nov. 21 amnesty.
Obama’s amnesty grants work-permits and Social Security cards to 4 million illegals, suspends immigration enforcement for all non-violent illegals, and increases the inflow of foreign professionals for use in prestigious jobs.
Boehner’s support for Obama’s amnesty came after two years of debate over Obama’s push for a Senate bill that would have doubled the annual flow of immigrants and guest-workers to almost 4 million per year. Roughly 4 million Americans turn 18 each year.
Many polls show that Obama lost that public debate, and the November ballots showed many Democratic candidates who supported amnesty lose to GOP candidates who oppose amnesty. Also, voters in deep-blue Oregon decided by two-to-one to deny drivers’ licenses to illegals.
But Pete Sessions is from Texas, and from the business wing of the GOP, whose legislators have long supported a greater inflow of lower-wage migrants for use in farms, meat-packing plants, restaurants, hotels, resorts, hospitals, universities, banks, computer firms and in research centers.
In the mid-2000s, for example, President George W. Bush pushed Congress to create a free-market of labor in North America, which would have allowed U.S. employers to freely hire an unlimited number of Mexicans instead of higher-wage Americans for any jobs in the United States.
“New immigration laws should serve the economic needs of our country,” Bush said in 2004. “I propose a new temporary worker program that will match willing foreign workers with willing American employers when no Americans can be found to fill the jobs… This new system should be clear and efficient so employers are able to find workers quickly and simply.”
Bush’s guest-worker program would have imported many workers, but also denied them citizenship and the ability to vote against GOP politicians.
However, Bush’s guest-worker and amnesty proposals were rejected by Congress in 2006 and 2007 because of public protests.
The business wing is now being opposed by a growing GOP populist wing, led now by Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions in the Senate, and by a group of conservative advocates in the House. Also, polls show the public strongly oppose foreign workers.
“The Congressman is and always has been adamantly opposed to blanket amnesty,” Sessions’ office told The Daily Caller. “In fact, the comments… were made during a Rules Committee hearing in which the committee considered legislation whose very title – the Executive Amnesty Prevention Act – makes it clear that the Chairman is committed to holding the President accountable for his unconstitutional, unilateral actions…. [Sessions is] firmly committed to securing our borders and protecting our nation’s rule of law.”
The GOP’s business wing remains dominant in the party, partly because it is backed by media progressives who also favor large-scale immigration.
The business-backed GOP leaders want a steady supply of non-voting, low-wage migrants, either illegals or temporary guest-workers. That strategy has proven economically successful — company profits have risen as median U.S. wages have remained flat since 2000.
Democratic legislators are eager to aid the migration of poor Latinos into the United States’ job market, but they want the migrants to become citizens so they can strengthen Democratic political machines.
That strategy has proven politically successful in some states, especially in California, where the former GOP-led state is now dominated by Democratic-run government agencies. The state, once a model of economic equality, is now almost at the bottom of the nation’s economic charts.
Gutierrez represents the lower-income tier of the new Democratic Party, whose post-grad progressive leadership steers a coalition of urban minorities, including immigrants, union workers, African-Americans and single women.
The upper tier was represented in the meeting by Rep. Zoe Lofgren, who sat beside Gutierrez. Lofgren is a former immigration lawyer whose district includes Silicon Valley, which has the nation’s largest tent-city.
Lofgren said she has “tremendous respect… tremendous affection” for two Texas GOP lawmakers. The two are likely Rep. John Carter and Rep. Sam Johnson, who secretly worked with Lofgren and three other Democrats to draft an amnesty bill in 2012 and 2013.
At the Dec. 3 meeting, Sessions spotlighted the strategic tensions between the cooperating GOP and Democrat advocates.
Obama has enforcement “discretion within his agencies, and President Bush had the same; and President Bush chose for his numbers of deportations to be about that big,” Sessions said, while keeping his thumb and forefinger very close.
But Obama has increased deportations and abandoned Bush’s practice for political advantage, Sessions complained.
“I think what the President has done is ill-advisable, wrong, and not the right thing to do… the President of the United States is using this as an excuse for political purposes to make my party – Republican party and people – look bad,” he complained.
In 2012, Obama won 72 percent of the Latino vote when running against Mitt Romney.
Despite his complaints about Obama, Sessions is wrong about the scale of deportations under Obama.
Obama has reduced deportations since 2011, even as he boosted apparent enforcement by relabeling the cross-border return of arrested border crossers deportees, similar to the repatriation of illegals caught living in the United States.
In 2013, Obama deported less than 0.2 percent of the illegals living in the United States for immigration-related violations. In 2014, he allowed roughly 140,000 low-skilled migrants from Central America to apply for green cards.
”If you are a run-of-the-mill immigrant here illegally, your odds of getting deported are close to zero — it’s just highly unlikely to happen,” John Sandweg, a former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, told the L.A. Times in a 2014 interview.
It is not clear from the video if Sessions understands the Democrats’ strategy of using immigrant populations to seize power from the GOP’s middle-class voters and business leaders in federal elections, and also in California, New Jersey, Florida and other states.
“I believe the president has done something that is unwise and unconstitutional,” Sessions complained about Obama’s amnesty, which puts several million additional illegals on a fast-track to citizenship. “An arsonist who is a member of the fire department and who creates a fire to come and put it out afterward is how I would describe the president’s actions” of claimed deportations and unilateral amnesty, Sessions complained.
In 2012, Obama won 71 percent of the Latino vote. In 2013, Latino kids comprised a majority of children in Texas schools.
Sessions even said he was offended by Democratic criticism that GOP leaders want to repatriate foreign migrants.
“There is no one in responsible Republican leadership, elected officials, that has said we should deport 13 or 11 million people,” he insisted. “That is not what this effort is about, and I find it extremely distasteful that people would come here and suggest things that we have not suggested,” he said.