Global Trade & Economy

GOP senator says foreign governments had role in Senate immigration bill

The chief critic of a bipartisan immigration reform proposal took to the floor Friday to decry the role of foreign governments and other groups in crafting the Senate bill.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), a top member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, cited reporting from The Hill in arguing that the Mexican embassy and other foreign entities have had access to lawmakers, while the law enforcement community has been shut out. Sessions voted against the bill that was reported out of committee last month.

“We got this bill off to the wrong track in the beginning,” Sessions said on the Senate floor. “Powerful groups met, excluding the interests of the American people.”

{mosads}Sessions quoted from a long list of press reports documenting meetings with business and banking interests, unions and ethnic lobbies. He also read from a Feb. 7 article in The Hill that revealed the behind-the-scenes role of countries such as Mexico, El Salvador and Ireland, all of which have large number of citizens living in the United States illegally.

“Even foreign countries have had a say in drafting our law,” Sessions said. “Well, the law officers weren’t in the room. We know that.”

The bill’s defenders say it contains numerous provisions to strengthen border security and enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws.

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