On the floor of the Senate Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., cited strong evidence linking responsibility for the border surge to Obama Administration policies, and explained how the Administration anticipated this year’s dramatic influx but did nothing to prevent it from happening.
The following are excerpts from his speech:
“Recently, Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley questioned 230 illegal immigrants about why they came and 95% said they believed they would be allowed to stay and take advantage of the ‘new’ U.S. ‘law’ that grants a ‘free pass’ or ‘permiso’ being issued by the U.S. government to adults traveling with minors and to unaccompanied children. A high percentage of the subjects interviewed stated their family members in the U.S. urged them to travel immediately, because the United States government was only issuing immigration ‘permisos’ until the end of June 2014.’
On June 10, 2014, newspapers in Honduras and Guatemala quoted Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson as saying: ‘Almost all agree that a child who crossed the border illegally with their parents, or in search of a father or a better life, was not making an adult choice to break our laws, and should be treated differently than adult violators of the law.’
Records show the Administration knew the surge at the border was coming and did nothing to stop it. Indeed, they sought to accommodate it. On January 29, 2014, the federal government posted an advertisement seeking bids for a vendor to contract to handle 65,000 ‘Unaccompanied Alien Children’ crossing the southern border. This raises serious questions.
Why would the Administration claim to be surprised by the current influx of unaccompanied minors when they were taking bids in January for a contract to handle this exact situation and almost the exact number?
A leaked May 30 internal memo written by top Border Patrol official, Deputy Chief Ronald Vitiello, said: ‘Currently only three percent of apprehensions from countries other than Mexico are being repatriated to their countries of citizenship, which are predominantly located in Central America.’
So we have a situation now where illegal immigrants seek out and turn themselves in to border patrol so they can be brought into the United States, be united with family members, apply for jobs, attend schools, have children in U.S. hospitals, and stay in the United States—whether through skipping court hearings, receiving asylum, or simply ignoring orders to leave. We can all expect, five or ten years from now, politicians in this very body to say that these illegal immigrants ‘came here through no fault of their own’ and are entitled to citizenship.
Indeed, the President actively continues to incentivize even more illegal immigration—he reauthorized his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for two years and held a White House ceremony honoring ten DACA recipients; he recently unilaterally authorized an additional 100,000 guest workers; and now the Justice Department is hiring lawyers to represent unaccompanied alien children in immigration court, to maximize the number who will receive permission to stay. Claims that DACA does not apply to these new arrivals is simply a distraction. DACA is a unilateral action that established the precedent that those who come to the United States at a certain age will receive special exemptions from the law.
Our immigration system is unraveling before our very eyes. The American people have been denied the protections they are entitled to under our immigration system. Washington is failing the citizens of this country in the most dramatic way. The President must send a clear and simple message: Do not come unlawfully. If you do, you will be returned home.”
Sen. Session argues the DACA program established the basis for amnesty for illegal aliens under a certain age. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., is now circulating a “Dear Colleague” letter asking Representatives to join him in demanding the termination of that program.
The letter blames President Obama for the UAC surge and cites DACA as the cause. "[T]he very existence of the program contradicts present law and violates the Constitutional principle of a separation of powers which grants primary law making authority to the Congress," Issa wrote. "The Executive does not get to pick and choose which laws must be enforced and which can be selectively ignored."
Issa’s letter also calls for an investigation into fraud and abuse in program for asylum, which UACs will likely seek, and for the termination of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson’s search for further limits on deportation.
Updated: Wed, Jul 9th 2014 @ 5:20pm EDT