Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) vowed Thursday afternoon to fight President Barack Obama’s reported plans to expand amnesty for up to six million more illegal residents by the end of the summer.
The two senators have been among the most vocal Republican opponents of Obama’s deferred deportation policy, which they say has prompted a flood of unaccompanied minors to try crossing into the United States.
Cruz said he was back at the Texas border last weekend, when he asked border officials why the roughly 60,000 children have tried to cross.
“Every single one of the border patrol agents gave the exact same answer,” Cruz said. “They said they’re coming because they believe they will get amnesty.”
Cruz also slammed Obama for avoiding the border, and instead continuing his fundraising tour across the country. He noted that Obama is in California now, and was hosted by the producer of the TV show Scandal.
“You know, that’s kind of fitting, because it is scandalous that the president has more time to be fundraiser in chief than he does to do his basic job in being commander in chief in securing our borders,” Cruz said.
Sessions said Americans need to know that Obama’s deferred action program also creates work authorization permits for people, and that Obama appears to be looking for a way to expand these benefits to illegal immigrant adults. Sessions has said this policy change could come at the end of this summer, as Obama has promised to take steps on his own.
“We need to know what this is saying, and we need to know what it means, and we need as members of Congress in this Senate to resist it,” Sessions said, citing a National Journal report outlining Obama’s plan. “And we cannot allow it to happen. We will not allow it to happen.”
“They are not entitled to certain government benefits if they come illegally,” Sessions added.” Of course they are not. Of course they are not able to work and take jobs and get benefits if they came into the country illegally.”
Cruz has proposed legislation that would prevent a program similar to Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy for millions of other illegal immigrants.
But earlier Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) indicated that the House would not consider that proposal as part of its own border bill that is being written.
Cruz said he would propose another bill this week to fix a 2008 law so the U.S. can quickly deport children from Central America. On that issue, Cruz and House Republicans agree — Boehner’s bill is expected to propose the same change.
This story has been updated.