Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2015—Motion to Proceedby Senator Jeff Sessions
Posted on 2015-02-05
SESSIONS. Mr. President, how much time remains on this side?
The PRESIDING OFFICER. There is 10\1/2\ minutes.
Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I ask to be notified after 7 minutes.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Chair will so notify the Senator.
Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, the key part of the President's unlawful executive amnesty, the overwhelming majority of it that actually is involved in the House bill, deals with adults and providing them work permits. It is not about the young people, as has been discussed. It involves 4 million-plus people.
We have talked at length about the President's executive action and how he is unlawfully, unconstitutionally making law--Senator Collins laid that out--when only Congress can make law. We have shown that the law he has created is law that he proposed and that Congress specifically rejected. We have shown that the President himself has at least 20 times said he does not have the power to take this action, rightly declaring he is not an emperor--those are his words--and that Congress makes laws.
So now Senator McConnell has moved to bring up the House-passed legislation that fully funds all lawful aspects of the Department of Homeland Security and all its lawful actions to protect the homeland. But the legislation has a provision in it that simply bars the President from spending any money to execute his unlawful Executive directions. It stops the Department of Homeland Security from outlaw activities. This is a matter of great constitutional importance.
It is, in addition, a matter of great importance to working Americans. What the President is doing is giving lawful status to over 4 million adults--persons who entered our country against the law or came in and overstayed their time. These persons, under current law, cannot be hired by any business or employer, but the President wants them to work anyway.
Congress considered and rejected this plan. The result is that the President's plan will be a further kick in the teeth to down and struggling American workers. The facts are clear. I am not seeing them disputed.
Median family income since the recession of 2007 to 2009 has declined by almost $5,000. This is a catastrophic event. This is unbelievable damage to America's middle-class workers. Such a decline is unprecedented since the Great Depression 80 years ago. While some say jobs and wages are recovering and we can stop worrying about that, the facts show otherwise. In addition to depressed incomes, America has the lowest percentage of persons in their working years who are actually working in nearly 40 years.
So consider this. There were huge worker layoffs during the 2009 recession, and many more had their hours reduced as a result of ObamaCare and other events.
There are other factors that combine to reveal that job and wage conditions are much worse than the unemployment rates would indicate.
Despite these problems--a slow economy, job-killing automation, and low wages--the President is carrying out his unlawful plan rejected by Congress that we give 5 million persons unlawfully here legal status--a Social Security number, a photo ID, and the right to take any job that may be available in America. The President's policies are in perfect accord with those of his nominee for Attorney General, Loretta Lynch. When I asked her this simple question last week, I got a surprising answer.
Question: Who has more right to a job in this country? A lawful immigrant who's here, or citizen--or a person who entered the country unlawfully? Answer: I believe that the right and the obligation to work is one that's shared by everyone in this country regardless of how they came here. And certainly, if someone is here, regardless of status, I would prefer that they would be participating in the workplace than not participating in the workplace.
That is the testimony last week by the chief law enforcement officer in the land who is supposed to be enforcing the laws of the country. That is her view of who should be working: Regardless of how you came here, you are entitled to work and apparently take any job in America.
This was a moment of inadvertent candor. She tried to modify that later, I acknowledge, but essentially all she said was: Well, I don't think anybody should work except those the President says should work-- and that would include the 5 million who are here unlawfully.
Let's be clear. These 5 million persons, with their new government- issued documents, will be able to apply for and take any of the few jobs now available in the economy. Sadly, the problem in America is not too few workers, but too few jobs. Last year, the administration celebrated the creation of over 2 million jobs. The President's actions would create from unlawful immigration over twice that many workers in one single amnesty act. Millions more Americans who lost jobs during the recession still haven't found work today.
Is this the right thing to do? I don't think so, and neither do the American people--by a wide margin. But, arrogantly, the President refuses to listen to the legitimate concerns of hurting Americans. He dismisses them, and supported by his palace guards in the Senate who blocked legislation---- The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama has used 7 minutes.
Mr. SESSIONS. I thank the Chair, and will wrap up and save some time for Senator Hoeven.
[[Page S808]] He pushes on to advance the interests of immigration activists, political consultants lusting after votes for the next election, and big business interests lusting after low wage labor. Businesses, who have become so transnational that their interests and those of the American workers are often incompatible.
President Obama supports these business interests. But I ask: Who represents the interests of dutiful American citizens and the lawful immigrant who followed the rules? Who is speaking out for their interests? They are the ones who are forgotten.
I am going to make a prediction: Their voices are going to be heard. No longer, in secret, will the legitimate wishes of good and decent Americans be denied. The people's voice will be heard. The day of the special-interest operatives, tone-deaf politicians, and those who would allow this--their voices will end. This time, the American people will get what they rightly demand--the protection of the laws already on the books. They will force the political class to end the massive lawlessness, and to produce an immigration system that serves the national interests, not the special interests. They will force these self-interested forces out of the seats of power and demand policies that protect their wages, their jobs, their national security, and their government budgets.
I thank the Chair. I appreciate the opportunity to speak on this, and I hope, when we vote soon, our colleagues will recognize it is time to consider the opportunities Senator Collins has said will be provided here--to have amendments and to go forth and do the right thing for the American people.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from North Dakota Mr. HOEVEN. Mr. President, I thank my colleagues, both from Alabama and from Maine, for coming down to the floor and saying: Let's do the work of the Senate. Let's advance to this Department of Homeland Security bill, let's offer amendments, let's have the debate. Let's fund the Department.