Shelby, Sessions urge immigration restrictions, defunding sanctuary cities to be included in budget

By Howard Koplowitz
on December 11, 2015 at 5:30 PM, updated December 11, 2015 at 5:31 PM

Alabama's two U.S. senators recommended Friday that language be included in a federal spending bill that would stop funding of so-called "sanctuary cities" and put restrictions on immigration.

Although a government shutdown was avoided after legislators passed a short-term spending bill Friday to keep the government running through Wednesday, Sens. Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions, both Republicans, said the long-term bill should include measures like denying funding for visas to countries that don't take back criminal aliens and prevent appropriations for immigrations programs that waive in-person interviews. The senators also want the longer bill to give Congress greater say in whether the country will accept refugees, arguing that President Barack Obama shouldn't be able to use the refugee resettlement program unless the legislature gives its approval.

"As we near a vote on the year-end government funding bill, we believe it is essential that Congress take strong steps to restore the security and financial integrity of our immigration system," Shelby and Sessions said in a statement. "In recent months, we have seen immigrants in the United States implicated in terrorist activity hailing from countries including Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Somalia, Sudan, Ghana and Saudi Arabia, to name a few. The risk is not limited to Syrian migration, but encompasses a wide-range of countries and the ever-present threat of post-entry radicalization."

They added, "Congress must cancel the President's blank refugee check and put Congress back in charge of the program. We cannot allow the President to unilaterally decide how many refugees he wishes to admit, nor continue to force taxpayers to pick up the tab for the tens of billions of unpaid-for welfare and entitlement costs. The omnibus would put the U.S. on a path to approve admission for hundreds of thousands of migrants from a broad range of countries with jihadists movements over the next 12 months, on top of all the other autopilot annual immigration – absent language to reduce the numbers."
Sessions and Shelby said they couldn't let immigration policies and program to go on when they "hurt our own constituents."