However, his comments stand in contrast to what he said last year, pledging to work with Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) to "push a bill" on immigration in 2015 whose goal “would not be to remove any person that might be here unless they were dangerous to this country and committed a crime.”
CNSNews.com sent the following four questions via email to Sessions' press office:
1. Rep. Sessions’ said at a Dec. 3 House Rules Committee hearing that he is working with Rep. Bob Goodlatte “to push a bill” on immigration that would seek to ensure that not one illegal immigrant is removed or deported “unless they were dangerous to this country and committed a crime.” Is Rep. Sesssions currently working on such a bill?
2. Does Rep. Sessions still maintain he will "use all [his] assets and resources" in 2015 to push legislation to ensure that “not one person is quote ‘thrown out or deported,’" as he stated at the hearing?
3. Should illegal immigrants be deported regardless of whether they are dangerous to the country or have committed a crime beyond illegal entry into the USA?
4. Should illegal immigrants to the USA be deported simply on the basis that they entered the country illegally?
“I firmly believe that our nation’s rule of law must be protected,” Sessions responded in an email. “The President’s executive amnesty plan erodes our system of checks and balances and circumvents the legislative process thus ignoring the will of the American people. I believe that anyone who wants to be a part of our great nation must adhere to our nation’s laws and go through the appropriate, legal process to become an American citizen.”
“I strongly support Chairman Goodlatte’s efforts to increase and strengthen interior enforcement and close loopholes to prevent illegal immigrants from staying here unlawfully,” he added. “Any immigration plan must enforce the rule of law and guarantee that those who violate the laws of our nation are punished for doing so.”
“In the 114th Congress, I have voted to hold the President accountable for his unwise, unlawful, and unconstitutional actions and to stop his executive amnesty plan. Now even the courts recognize that the President’s executive amnesty plan is a clear violation of the Constitution. I stand firm in support of the judge’s action to preserve and protect our nation’s rule of law and I will continue to fight against the president’s amnesty plan.”
However, during a House Rules Committee hearing on Dec. 3, Sessions vowed to help draft a bill whose goal “would not be to remove any person that might be here unless they were dangerous to this country and committed a crime” and “not one person is, quote, ‘thrown out’ or ‘deported.’”
“I as well as at least one other responsible member – and it’s Mr. [pause], the chairman of the Committee on Judiciary, and he may or may not choose to participate -perhaps I’ve gone too far. We intend to push a bill that would operate under the activity of trying to do under rule of law – what we would do in the House, move to the Senate, move to the President – and Mr. Goodlatte is committed in his job to do the right thing and to work with the Administration,” Sessions said.
“But that, even in our wildest dreams, would not be to remove any person that might be here unless they were dangerous to this country and committed a crime; and we would not even – that was never even in a plan that I thought about,” he added.
“Mr. Goodlatte is here to press a bill that says, ‘Mr. President, we disagree with what you’ve done. We don’t believe you should have done it.’ I’m going to further state me personally - and I’ll let the young chairman decide if he chooses to say this -that I’m going to use my assets and resources in the new year to work with this Congress, including Mr. Polis, to have a well understood agreement about what the law should be, and how we as communities, and farm communities, and tech communities create circumstances where we can have people be in this country and work, and where not one person is quote ‘thrown out’ or ‘deported;’ where we do keep families together, but what we do is we do so under a rule of law of an understanding,” Sessions continued.
In the email responding to CNSNews.com’s questions last week, a spokesperson for Sessions said he was “simply stating that Republicans don't believe in deporting everyone who is simply accused of being here illegally without ensuring that they receive the due process of law.”
The spokesperson added Sessions “does support reforms that will prevent illegal immigrants from staying here indefinitely, as well as reforms that will allow border patrol agents to process and more rapidly assess and send illegal immigrants who are caught crossing our borders back to their country of origin.”
CNSNews.com sent the same four questions in an email to Goodlatte’s office after Goodlatte refused to discuss immigration following a press conference on Feb. 4.
On Feb. 5, a spokesperson for Goodlatte’s office told CNSNews.com that Goodlatte “has consistently stated the House will take a step-by-step approach to immigration reform, starting with enforcement first.”
The spokesperson did not answer the specific questions and refused to confirm whether Goodlatte was working with Sessions on a bill that would stay deportation proceedings for illegal aliens who had not committed a crime other than being in the country unlawfully.