Sessions: Treating amnesty as a civil right is 'preposterous'

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) on Monday rejected the idea that seeking amnesty in the United States is a civil right, and said this argument from supporters of an immigration reform bill would allow anyone in the world to enter the U.S. without permission.

"Several prominent amnesty advocates, including Mark Zuckerberg and top Obama administration officials, have argued that amnesty is a civil right," he wrote in an op-ed for the National Review. "The claim is, of course, preposterous on its face."

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"Under this reasoning, every immigrant currently living in the U.S. on a temporary visa has the right to refuse to leave when that visa expires," he wrote. "And every household in a foreign country has the right to enter the U.S. illegally tomorrow and demand the Obama administration's amnesty for 'DREAMers' and their relatives."

Sessions, an opponent of the Senate-passed immigration bill, also cited a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, who has argued that treating amnesty as a civil right would "severely affect the rights of blacks generally and all low-income Americans. What it is going to do is displace those individuals from the labor market."

He added that the U.S. already admits hundreds of thousands of workers into the country each year, and said that instead of turning illegal immigrants into legal residents, the U.S. should focus on helping the "legitimate interests of working Americans."

The Senate-passed bill, which includes a pathway to citizenship, has not moved in the House. However, House Republicans have said they would likely bring up several immigration bills this year, which are expected to focus on border enforcement.