Sessions: Immigration bill loopholes come at 'great cost to taxpayers'

Sessions said that the comprehensive immigration bill, S. 744, contains numerous loopholes that will allow illegal immigrants to access public benefits “sooner than advertised.”

ADVERTISEMENT
“Millions of those newly legalized will have steady access to federal benefits through their households and will have access to all taxpayer aid once they become citizens in as soon as five years,” Sessions said, despite claims from the Gang of Eight that immigrants would likely have to wait as long as 13 years to receive any benefits.

The bipartisan group of eight senators, called the Gang of Eight, introduced the Border Security; Economic Opportunity; and Immigration Modernization Act, 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.

Some Republicans have complained that the legislation is being rushed through and that it would provide amnesty for illegal residents before strengthening border enforcement.

“This is just one more example of the legislation not living up the commitments that were made,” Sessions said. “However, this bill has been described as a ‘starting point’ and so I hope the Gang’s members will propose or support amendments to address the legislation’s enormous federal costs and to ensure that illegal immigrants will not become dependent on already burdened state and local benefit programs.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee will begin marking up the comprehensive immigration bill next week. It will likely reach the Senate floor by June.

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-Colo.) comprise the Gang of Eight.