The House has its restrictionist Immigration Reform Caucus, and its counterpart in the Senate is the recently formed Border Security and Enforcement First Caucus.
According to its mission statement: “The Caucus is a platform to let Americans know that some in the U. S. Senate are continuing to make sure that the laws already on the books will be enforced, act as the voice of those concerned citizens who have expressed their opinions time and time again for interior enforcement and border security, push for stronger boarder security and interior enforcement legislation, and work together in the U.S. Senate to defeat future legislation that may be considered amnesty.”
Headed up by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the caucus is calling for “full Senate consideration” of 15 restrictionist bills, many of them sponsored by Sessions. One bill spearheaded by Sessions calls for a “mandatory minimum” sentence for those who illegally enter the United States ranging from 10 days for a first-time violation to 20 years for “felons and repeat offenders.” The caucus says that each bill in the “enforcement-focused package represents a specific step toward: securing America’s borders; increasing enforcement at the workplace; and ultimately, restoring law and order to our nation’s broken immigration system.” The bills are described as “achievable, bite-sized steps that the Republican coalition believes a bi-partisan Congress should be able to accomplish between now and November.”
The Border Security and Enforcement First Caucus has adopted the "attrition through enforcement" strategy favored by restrictionionist groups such as Numbers USA, Center for Immigration Studies, and Federation for American Immigration Reform.
Copying the language found on NumbersUSA website, the caucus says: “The principal mission of the Caucus is to promote a true, achievable alternative: attrition through enforcement. Living illegally in the United States will become more difficult and less satisfying over time when the government – at ALL LEVELS – enforces all of the laws already on the books.”
Sen. John Vitter chairs the caucus, whose members include: Sen. Jeff Sessions, Sen. Jim DeMint, Sen. James Inhofe, Elizabeth Dole, Sen. Richard Burr, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, Sen. Johnny Isakson, Sen. Roger Wicker, Sen. Johnny Isakson, Sen. Mike Enzi, and Sen. John Thune.
Explaining why he joined the Caucus, Sen. Isakson elevate border security as the number one concern of Americans. “There’s no greater domestic issue in this country,” he said, “than the problems on our southern border with Mexico, and it is time that Congress makes a commitment to make border security a reality…America is too important, and this issue is too critical to the American people.”
Photo: Sen. Sessions presenting his anti-immigration bills at caucus press conference.