“A federal judge said the Secretary doesn’t have the ability to direct the agents not to do what Congress has explicitly required them to do,” Sessions said. “The judge stated basically that Secretary Napolitano is not above the law.”
“Morale in the ICE officers department is one of the very lowest in the government,” Sessions said. “These ICE officers are not complaining about pay or working conditions … what they were saying was that the Secretary and Mr. [John] Morton were denying them the right to enforce the law of the United States.”
Sessions warned the a comprehensive immigration reform bill, S. 744, would give the Homeland Security Secretary more authority to waive policies.
“Now we have new law giving her more power to waive policies,” Sessions said. “So this is the problem colleagues, Congress tells America we’re going to give legal status, amnesty to some 11 million people who have entered the country illegally, and trust us we’re going to have the toughest laws in the future.
“This Secretary has proven that she is not willing to have the laws of this country enforced.”
The bipartisan group of eight senators, called the Gang of Eight, introduced S. 744, which 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.
Sessions said the American public should be skeptical of the law.
“We’ve had a long time problem with the enforcement of immigration law within the United States,” Sessions said. “I do believe the American people are right to be dubious and watch this very carefully.”
Earlier Wednesday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced that his committee would begin to make up that bill when the Senate returns from a state-work week.
Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Jeff Flake (R- Ariz.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Michael Bennet (D-Co.) comprise the Gang of Eight.