Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions warned his colleagues they are fast approaching “a perilous hour” for the separation of powers between the president and Congress, delivering an impassioned denunciation of President Barack Obama’s plan to ignore Congress and grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants despite opposition from lawmakers.
Sessions spoke on the Senate floor Monday about the slew of reports indicating the White House is only days away from a major executive action on immigration.
Most reports — including some from Democratic members of Congress — claim Obama will grant some form of amnesty to vast swathes of people now living in the country illegal. According to Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez, that number could be as high as 5 million.
“We are entering a momentous week,” Sessions began, “as Congress must face the reality that President Obama is moving towards a decision whereby he would issue executive orders in direct contravention of long-established American law . . . This after Congress has explicitly refused demands to change the law to suit his desire.”
Any amnesty without congressional approval, the senator warned, “would be in contravention of his duty and his oath to see that the United States are faithfully enforced — and it would be a direct challenge to the clear powers of Congress to make laws!”
“The president’s actions are astonishing,” he continued, “[and] they’re taking our nation into exceedingly-dangerous waters . . . Such calculated action strains the constitutional structure of our republic.”
Sessions called for the president to “pull back” and cease promising action to special interest groups. “Simply put, that which you desire is beyond your lawful reach!” he admonished.
“Mr. President, you work for the American people,” he continued. “They don’t work for you! And they will not accept nullification of their law passed by their elected representatives. The American people are not going to accept it. They’re going to fight this. They will resist.”
Sessions called on his fellow lawmakers to immediately pass a provision expressly forbidding Obama from taking unilateral action on amnesty.
“I’m calling on every person in this body and in the House of Representatives to stand up and be counted in this perilous hour,” he declared. “I think it is a perilous hour. I don’t think I’ve seen a situation in which a president, weeks in advanced, have announced he’s going to take action that violates law.”
“Will we answer that call?” he asked. “Where will history record each of us stood at this important time?”
“I believe the answer should be clear,” Sessions concluded. “We stand for law, we stand for the Constitution, we stand for an honorable, lawful immigration system that treats everyone fairly and serves the national interest of the people of the United States.”