Sen. Jeff Sessions on Tuesday urged House Republicans to reject President Barack Obama's $3.7 billion emergency request to address the illegal immigration crisis in order to prevent him from expanding deportation deferrals to as many as 6 million illegal adults.
"We need rising wages, not falling wages," the Alabama Republican said on the Senate floor. We can't help those living here today if we keep bringing in record numbers of new workers to compete for their jobs, to drive up unemployment, and then pull down wages. That is just a fact."
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Obama's aid request includes money for more immigration judges, detention facilities and other resources for the crush of illegal immigrants, mostly children, at the U.S. border with Mexico.
But he told immigration advocates last month that he would consider expanding deferrals to illegal adults under an effort similar to his 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
DACA ended the threat of deportation for as many as 670,000 illegals between the ages of 15 and 31 who had been brought to the U.S. before their 16th birthday. The president recently expanded the program for two more years.
More than 57,000 illegal immigrant minors have been arrested in south Texas by Border Patrol agents, and the White House has estimated that number could jump to 90,000 by the end of September.
Noting that nearly 30 million work and immigration visas were issued between 2000 and last year, Sessions called on Congress to "get serious and establish a principled policy of immigration and consistently enforce it, a policy that is honorable, that we can be proud of, and that serves the interests of all Americans — especially working Americans."
"These are the people who have made our country great. They deserve our attention and compassion, too. Middle America has been decent and right on this issue from the beginning."
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