Sessions criticizes Gang of Eight for putting ‘amnesty’ ahead of ‘enforcement’

The bipartisan group of eight senators unveiled a framework for immigration reform in January and has since been negotiating the details of a plan that would create a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country, toughen border security, create a guest worker program and boost high-skilled immigration.

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The eight senators are expected to release their comprehensive immigration reform package as early as Tuesday. 

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) — one of the members of the Gang of Eight — previewed the plan on Sunday political talk shows. Rubio said his plan does not grant “amnesty,” but would require immigrants to meet a series of requirements, including having a job and paying fines, and would require them to wait years before applying for citizenship.

Sessions has warned that most GOP senators would not support an immigration plan that doesn’t address border security and enforcement before offering a pathway for legalization to those in the country illegally.

Sessions has also voiced concerns that immigrants would be eligible for federal programs such as ObamaCare, Social Security and Medicare, increasing the cost to taxpayers.

“It will expose taxpayers to enormous long-term costs, including trillions in unfunded liabilities for Medicare and Social Security from which low-wage foreign workers will draw more benefits than they pay in,” Sessions said. “These programs need strengthening, not further weakening.”

But Rubio said illegal immigrants allowed to stay in the United States wouldn't have access to any government programs, including food stamps, ObamaCare and Medicare immediately.

Sessions also said that legalizing possibly 30 million new workers would only make the U.S. unemployment rate worse and harm low-wage workers.

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