Sen. Jeff Sessions
Sen. Jeff Sessions

Published:  

Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) offered his comments on the Department of Homeland Security's immigration policy before today's DHS oversight hearing. Sen. Sessions criticized the department's consistent disregard for the law in its immigration policy.

America is a nation of laws, and—while we have made some progress regarding immigration—our system remains broken. As many as twenty million individuals live here illegally, enjoying many of the same benefits as those who have followed the rules, paid taxes, and waited patiently to become full and legal citizens.

For far too long, America failed to secure its borders. As a result, people failed to respect those borders and millions of illegal immigrants swept across. But efforts in recent years to restore the rule of law—such as building barriers and increasing prosecutions—are sending a clear message to the world. As a result, illegal border crossings are down. Statistics show that border apprehensions fell from over 1.6 million at the beginning of the decade to around 550,000 last year. This is a promising development, but the task of securing America’s borders is far from complete.

Unfortunately, on the crucial policy of worksite enforcement, the administration is moving in the opposite direction. They have effectively signaled to our law enforcement officers that they should turn a blind eye to clear violations of the law. The no-match rule—a commonsense policy that required employers to take action if notified that their employees did not have legal status—has been brushed aside in favor of much more lenient administrative audits. Perhaps most perplexing, worksite raids no longer result in deportation, meaning that even if discovered, illegal aliens are allowed to walk free and seek employment elsewhere. This lax approach is particularly troubling at a time when so many American citizens are struggling to find jobs.

Secretary Napolitano is America’s top immigration enforcement official, and I look forward to discussing with her these and other important immigration issues. Her recent comments that our progress on border security opens the door to consideration of new amnesty policies are disturbing. That faulty view will be a focus of the hearing.

DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano is expected to testify at today's Senate Judiciary hearing.

Updated: Wed, Dec 9th 2009 @ 2:17pm EST