The bipartisan group of eight senators, known as 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.
Some Republicans have complained that the legislation would provide amnesty in 10-13 years for the nearly 11 million residents living in the U.S. illegally before strengthening border enforcement.
Those supporting the bill say it doesn’t include amnesty since immigrants who entered the country illegally would be forced to undergo a background check, pay a fine and back taxes, learn English, and wait in line for a green card. The bill also appropriates an additional $6.5 billion for border enforcement measures.
Sessions argued those things are not actually in the bill, though he has also said that because the legislation is nearly 1,000 pages, it is hard to read and understand it all.
“They promised back taxes — but the requirement isn’t there; they promised tight restrictions on welfare benefits — but state and local benefits, as well as tax credits, will be available immediately and federal welfare access is granted to millions of illegal immigrants starting in five years; they promised to protect workers — but this bill would devastate workers by tripling the number of legal immigrants over the next decade and doubling the number of guest workers,” Sessions said.
The bill makes permanent legal residence contingent on the Department of Homeland Security having 100 percent situational awareness at every segment of the southern border and a 90 percent apprehension rate of those illegally crossing. But Sessions said the bill gives the Department of Homeland Security too much say over whether the border is secure, leaving Congress powerless to stop the amnesty program if security measures aren’t met.
Sens. Marco RubioMarco RubioSenate clears water bill with Flint aid, drought relief What Trump's Cabinet picks reveal House passes water bill with Flint aid, drought relief MORE (R-Fla.), John McCainJohn McCainSunday shows preview: Trump sits down with Fox McCain: Tillerson ties to Putin a 'matter of concern' Second Dem calls for probe into Russian election involvement MORE (R-Ariz.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamDemocrats unnerved by Trump's reliance on generals Graham slams Russia Second Dem calls for probe into Russian election involvement MORE (R-S.C.), Jeff FlakeJeff FlakeSenators move to protect 'Dreamers' Reid bids farewell to the Senate Reid defends relationship with McConnell in farewell speech MORE (R-Ariz.), Charles SchumerCharles SchumerSecond Dem calls for probe into Russian election involvement Schumer calls for Senate probe into Russian interference Senate Dems hold out on spending deal, risking shutdown MORE (D-N.Y.), Dick DurbinDick DurbinSenators move to protect 'Dreamers' Manchin urging colleagues to block funding bill as shutdown looms The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-Ill.), Robert MenendezRobert MenendezThe right person for State Department is Rudy Giuliani Warren, Menendez question shakeup at Wells Fargo Democrats press Wells Fargo CEO for more answers on scandal MORE (D-N.J.) and Michael BennetMichael BennetSenate passes college anti-Semitism bill Speculation and starting points: accreditation, a new administration and a new Congress The untold stories of the 2016 battle for the Senate MORE (D-Colo.) comprise the Gang of Eight.