Sen. Jeff Sessions: Republican budget must follow the law, shut down Obama's lawless amnesty

Jeff Sessions 8:33 p.m. EST November 12, 2015

'Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals' violates the law in just the ways appeals court struck down

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the injunction that blocks President Obama’s unconstitutional 2014 executive amnesty. The president’s amnesty decree was intended to provide millions of illegal aliens with work permits, tax credits and federal entitlements — taking jobs and benefits directly from struggling Americans.

In its powerful ruling, the 5th Circuit held that the president’s program is “manifestly contrary” to federal law, which “flatly does not permit the reclassification of millions of illegal aliens as lawfully present and thereby make them newly eligible for a host of federal and state benefits, including work authorization.” The court determined that the states suing the administration are likely to succeed on the merits of their case. And the court’s ruling further validated the protests of millions of patriotic Americans who swept Democrats from power in 2014 after the president threatened to issue his unlawful decree.

However, while the lawsuit addressed President Obama’s 2014 executive amnesty, it does not address his 2012 executive amnesty. The illegal 2012 amnesty helped spark our current border crisis by giving jobs and benefits to younger illegal immigrants. This benefits program continues to operate, although it violates the law in all the same ways as the court identified for the 2014 amnesty.

Congress should thus use its constitutional power of the purse to prohibit funding for both the illegal 2012 and 2014 amnesties. And whoever seeks to replace President Obama in the White House must cancel these unconstitutional benefit programs on the first day in office.

More broadly, Congress should immediately begin to move popular immigration reforms that would be backed by overwhelming majorities of voters, including: a crackdown on sanctuary cities that shield alien criminals; an end to tax credits for illegal aliens; and blocking the president from using federal funds to unilaterally expand the costly refugee resettlement program.

It is time to reclaim the words “immigration reform” — incorrectly used by lobbyists and politicians as code language for amnesty and mass immigration — and reapply them correctly to legislation that benefits Americans. Politicians keep talking about “when” we should do “immigration reform.” This is the wrong question. The question should be: “Who” is “immigration reform” supposed to benefit?

There is never a bad time to move bills that protect and defend the core interests of the American people. And there is never a good time to move legislation that undermines struggling workers by replacing them with lower-wage imported labor.

Already, immigration levels in the USA are approaching a historic high. In 1970, one in 21 U.S. residents were immigrants. Today, it is nearly one in seven and on track to eclipse the highest percentage ever documented in U.S. history. Fifty-nine million immigrants have been admitted into the USA since the passage of visa changes enacted in 1965. Largely, this immigration growth is the green cards — an immigration document that legally invites foreign nationals to enter the United States, reside here permanently, collect federal benefits and ultimately register as voting citizens.

This large-scale migratory flow has padded the labor supply and pushed down wages for immigrant and U.S.-born workers alike. Real wages today are lower than they were in 1973.

After the numerically smaller immigration wave from 1880 to 1920, Congress reduced immigration for nearly the next half-century. This migratory pause helped both U.S.-born and foreign-born already living here climb into the middle class.

But now, unlike then, the Census Bureau projects we are going to stack another record five-decade immigration wave on top of the last five-decade immigration wave — for 100 years of uninterrupted record-breaking immigration. According to Pew Research, new immigrants and their future children will add 103 million to the U.S. population over the next 50 years — or the population equivalent of more than 25 cities the size of Los Angeles.

This is extreme.

But instead of reducing the inflow of new workers, the president’s lawless immigration conduct only increased the flow of new labor even further. Eighty-three percent of voters want to see projected immigration growth reduced — which means Congress must take up and pass a bill to reduce the number of visas handed out each year.

Unless that happens, each and every year, the U.S. will continue to pad the labor supply by handing out another 1 million green cards, 700,000 foreign-worker permits, 500,000 foreign student visas and admissions slips for 100,000 refugees and asylum-seekers.

Whoever wants to occupy the desk in the Oval Office must support legislation to bring down record immigration numbers — and to put the country back to work.

Sen. Jeff Sessions is a Republican from Alabama. He is the chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest.