Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) took to the Senate floor Friday to argue against the “Gang of Eight’s” immigration reform bill and to criticize the government on its recent focus on only deporting serious crime-committing immigrants, with the senator saying “nobody” is being deported from the country .
“The federal government has reached a point now where virtually no one is being deported except those being convicted of serious crimes,” Sessions said on the floor.
However, the nation reportedly deported a record 400,000 immigrants last year, a number that included border removals. Still, a spokesman for Sessions confirms that the Senator is skeptical of the number, which was initially reported by the Immigration and Customs Enforcements (ICE).
Even though security has been tightened at the borders, the Obama Administration has been granting legal status to some who were facing removal from the United States. The administration has also granted amnesty for immigrants who fall under the Dream Act—a bill passed in 2012 that allows young, undocumented immigrants to be granted work permits in the United States. The administration claims that it does not have the means to deport all undocumented immigrants, so it must focus on removal of immigrants who commit serious criminal acts.
Sessions argued otherwise, asserting that the recent immigrant-friendly policies being implemented by the Obama Administration are essentially a way for the administration to ignore its responsibility to deport the undocumented. And it appears the Senator and his fellow supporters are steadfast on on its stance against the proposed immigration reform.
Several members of the GOP, as well as three Democrats, voted on Thursday to pass the Steve King Amendment. This amendment bars the Department of Homeland Security’s capability to interfere with deportations of immigrants who are viewed as low priority cases as well as undocumented immigrants who fall under the Dream Act.
The fight for immigration reform is definitely heating up on Capitol Hill, as it seems by Sessions recent comments as well as the implementation of the Steve King Amendment, that both the GOP and the Democrats are equally torn over the reform.
Krysta Loera is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire.