Sessions efforts to derail immigration reform have caused Dana Milbank of the Washington Post to make the comparison between Sessions and another infamous Alabama politician:When it comes to immigration reform, perhaps no senator has been more vocal about their displeasure with the newest bill, drafted by the group of bipartisan senators known as the "Gang of Eight," than Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.)--the Republican many blame for the defeat of the last immigration reform bill in 2008.
“This bill, written by the 'Gang of Eight,' without public process, that stacked in the committee and determined to move it through with little or no changes, it,” Sessions said.
But many pro-immigration reform voices are suspicious that the 49 amendments Sessions has filed, second only to the whopping 77 amendments filed by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), are designed to kill the bill rather than change it. Sessions says that's not so.
“We create amendments that reveal the problems with [the immigration reform bill], and I think that's kind of what's been happening,” he told Power Players. “We are beginning to show that there are weaknesses in it.”
He points to the lack of a biometric entry and exit system as one weakness of the bill.
Current law already calls for a biometric system, which has been in place since 1996 and was reinforced in the wake of September 11. However, it has proven to be too expensive and difficult to implement. The current immigration bill, as drafted, calls for screening of visa photo IDs for those entering the country, which then goes into a database and must be matched at time of exit. The biometric system proposed by Sessions calls for additional fingerprinting and iris scans.
Sessions says that Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Fla.) recent declaration of support for a biometric entry/exit visa bodes well for his amendment and that the amendment is “going to clearly pass on the floor of the Senate.” - Yahoo! News, 5/21/13
Luckily pro-immigration reforms have noticed that George Wallace 2.0 has been doing everything he can to derail immigration reform and they are fighting back:Not since George Wallace, perhaps, has an Alabamian taken as passionate a stand for a lost cause as the one Jeff Sessions is taking now.
Bipartisan immigration legislation is making its way inexorably through the Senate Judiciary Committee. Although its ultimate fate is unclear, its passage by the committee is assured, and conservatives on the panel such as ranking Republican Chuck Grassley (Iowa) and Orrin Hatch (Utah) are doing what they can to improve the bill. Even firebrands such as Ted Cruz (Tex.) and Mike Lee (Utah) are holding fire.
Then there’s Sessions. The wiry Southerner is on a one-man crusade to undo the compromise drafted by the Gang of Eight (four of whom, two Democrats and two Republicans, are colleagues on the committee).He has dominated the four days of hearings to “mark up” the bill. As of midday Monday, he had spoken for two hours and 56 minutes — far longer than the second-place Grassley (2:24) and third-place Chuck Schumer of New York (1:38).
As of lunchtime Monday, Sessions had persuaded his colleagues to adopt just two of the 49 amendments he filed. (He voted against one of those two, after his colleagues modified it in a way he didn’t like.)
His most prominent defeat: a 17-1 vote last week against his proposal to restrict legal immigration. Before that bipartisan rebuke, he spent one hour and 11 minutes arguing his case. - Washington Post, 5/20/13
If you'd like to get involved with the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice, you can do so here:Supporters with the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice protested in front of U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions' Huntsville office in the Regions Bank building on Clinton Avenue Monday afternoon.
In response to Sessions' political opposition and concerns with immigration reform proposed by a bipartisan group of Democratic and Republican senators nicknamed the "Gang of Eight", the ACIJ presented the George Wallace Memorial Award to a large puppet depicting Sessions for his "hostility towards immigrants."
The tongue-and-cheek honor intended for Sessions' likened his hesitations on immigration reform with Wallace's resistance against integration. - AL.com, 5/21/13
And if you live in Alabama, please put the pressure on Sessions and tell him to stop trying to derail immigration reform: