In what may be the most important development in the 2016 Presidential race to date, Donald Trump has announced, and Sen. Jeff Sessions’ office has confirmed, that the GOP front-runner is consulting with the Alabama Senator in crafting his immigration plan for the future of America.
The real estate mogul’s announcement will send shock waves through Washington D.C. and all across primary states.
Trump, whose campaign has focused primarily on issues of immigration and trade, has seen a meteoric rise since entering the race, with throngs of supporters across the country rocketing him to the top of every single poll, despite an extraordinary effort of establishment Republicans to take him down. Republican pundits have lobbed every imaginable accusation at Trump. Yet these same pundits, while seemingly furious at the man, have demonstrated no similar concern, angst, or passion about the dissolution of our southern border, the rampant exploitation of guest-worker programs, the collapse of middle class wages, and the growing illegal immigrant crime wave.
Sen. Sessions, Chairman of the Senate’s Immigration Subcommittee, is widely regarded as the gold standard on immigration. Sessions has also become the intellectual thought leader in the Republican Party on appealing to the blue collar voters who have been abandoned by their political leaders.
For instance, Sen. Sessions recently led the fight against Obamatrade, issuing one in-depth report after another about its effects on working families.
The Washington Post reports:
Donald Trump will unveil a series of position papers in early September, he said in an interview Friday, beginning with a plan to address immigration policy that was crafted with the counsel of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), a favorite of conservative activists and an outspoken border hawk…
Sen. Sessions’ spokesman Stephen Miller told The Post:
Senator Sessions enjoyed the opportunity to speak with Mr. Trump. The senator believes the defining issues in 2016 will be how to earn the trust of struggling workers, and how to develop trade and immigration policies that serve their interests.
Trump told The Post that he holds the Alabama Senator in extremely high regard: “I like him… Tough guy. I like that. We have a similar thought process.”
Indeed, Sessions is well-known for his no-nonsense cross examinations, including his subtle yet devastating unraveling of Lorreta Lynch and his hard-hitting exchanges in the Budget Committee before Republicans gave the gavel to leadership-ally Sen. Mike Enzi.
Sessions’ esteemed reputation on immigration is indeed well-earned. Sessions led the fight to stop the immigration expansion effort of 2006 and 2007, before leading the charge to derail the 2013 Gang of Eight bill. Following the 2007 implosion of McCain-Kennedy, the donor class has spent unprecedented sums of money and organizational resources to try to pass legislation that would combine amnesty with a massive increase to record yearly immigration levels.
According to a 2013 report from the Sunlight foundation, between 2007 and 2012, lobbying groups spent more than $1.5 billion to pass immigration expansions. The centerpiece of the establishment donor class’s immigration push was the selection of Marco Rubio as the bill’s chief salesman. In the early days of the Gang of Eight push, when many conservatives were afraid to speak out against Rubio, Sen. Sessions began what started as a lonely one-man fight against the bill– issuing fact-checks on every false statement issued by Rubio’s office [See just few examples here, here, and here]. As The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank wrote of Sessions’ solitary charge while the bill was being marked up in committee:
The wiry Southerner is on a one-man crusade to undo the compromise drafted by the Gang of Eight (four of whom, two Democrats and two Republicans, are colleagues on the committee). He has dominated the four days of hearings to “mark up” the bill. As of midday Monday, he had spoken for two hours and 56 minutes — far longer than the second-place [Chairman] Grassley (2:24) and third-place Chuck Schumer of New York (1:38).
As the Los Angeles Times reported Sen. Sessions– in his outspoken crusade to stop the Gang of Eight bill– collected more hours speaking on the Senate floor than any other Senator in 2013, including Mitch McConnell, Harry Reid, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul:
Though some of his Republican colleagues made marathon stands on the Senate floor in 2013, it is Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) who has the distinction of logging the most speaking time, according to estimates from a C-SPAN Video Archives analysis. Sessions spoke for more than 33 hours this year,the congressional cable network reports.
Ultimately, Sen. Sessions succeeded in uniting the conservative movement against the Gang of Eight bill, sending the bill crashing in flames in the House and subsequently stopping Eric Cantor’s plan to pass the same bill in chunks–culminating in the historic loss of the former-House Majority leader at the hands of Congressman Dave Brat (R-VA).
If Trump outlines immigration policy specifics along the lines of what Sessions has articulated, polling data suggests that it will not only position Trump to perform well in the Republican primary, but also in the general election.
As Breitbart News reported in 2014, prior to the midterm elections, the National Republican Senate Committee (NRSC) polled several of Sessions’ immigration messaging items and had the Senator hold a conference call for candidates prior to the historic midterm gain. The poll conducted by the NRSC produced remarkable findings:
Paragon Insights, a little-known firm that is on the NRSC’s payroll, asked respondents whether they would support a GOP Senate candidate who said ‘Immigration policy needs to serve the interests of the nation as a whole, not a few billionaire CEOs and immigration activists lobbying for open borders.’
Likely voters approved by a 71-16 margin. Women supported the sentiment 73-14, higher than men… Obama’s opponents supported it 82-12, but even Obama supporters gave it 61-21 nod. Liberals supported it 59-21. Most surprising, self-identified Hispanics supported it 66-21.
Another question measured support for the idea that ‘The first goal of immigration policy needs to be getting unemployed Americans back to work – not importing more low-wage workers to replace them.’
Like the other question, the response was enthusiastic. Likely voters: 70-18 in favor. Men: 67-20. Women: 73-17. Liberals: 54-29. Independents: 70-15. Whites: 72-16. Hispanics: 59-32.
The most important point, underscored by the polling data but often lost in media labels, is that Sessions’ immigration philosophy and strategy is fundamentally grounded in principles that poll well with moderates, liberals, minorities, and the American electorate at large. The consultant class has never understood the immigration issue: for them, immigration messaging is primarily based in vague references to border enforcement in the primary, followed by general election support for large-scale immigration that turns off blue collar voters and women voters the GOP needs to win.
The hallmark of the Alabama Senator and former-prosecutor’s approach to immigration strategy has been his evidentiary, prosecutorial style. Sessions has developed a reputation for putting out lengthy policy proposals with in-depth references to academic research. For instance, at the beginning of the year, Sessions released an immigration handbook, a content-rich 25- page document for incoming freshmen Congressmen and women. The handbook provided a roadmap documenting the collapse of interior enforcement, the rampant abuses of the H-1B visa by large corporations, and the record issuances of green cards that is pulling down wages. To stitch together the case that unprecedented flows of immigration are devastating wages and putting American middle class dreams out of reach, Sessions cites analysis from Harvard Professor George Borjas, Georgetown professor Eric Gould, Howard University’s Ron Hira, UC Davis’s Norm Matloff, as well as raw data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau.
Following Microsoft’s announcement that it was firing 18,000 workers, Sen. Sessions took to the Senate floor to expose Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Sheldon Adelson for continuing to push for more H-1Bs and cheap labor while laying off American workers.
As far as I am concerned, so far as I can see, those three billionaires have three votes. An individual who works stocking the shelves at the grocery store, the barber, the doctor, the lawyer, the cleaners, the operator, and the person who picks up our garbage are every bit as valuable as they are. I know who I represent. I represent the citizens of the United States of America, and I am trying to do what is in their best interest. And… what may be good for Mr. Adelson and Mr. Microsoft and Mr. Buffett is not always in accord with what is good for the American people. I know that… [and] I am going to push back.
In his now-famous immigration speech on the Senate floor last year–known as his Masters of the Universe speech, in which he directly took on billionaire and immigration expansionist Mark Zuckerberg, Sessions declared:
One of the groups that have joined the chorus of special interests demanding executive action on immigration is FWD.us, run by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg… Well, the “masters of the universe” are very fond of open borders as long as these open borders don’t extend to their gated compounds and fenced-off estates… The job of elected officials is to answer to the people who sent them to Washington — not to scorn them, not to demean them, not to mock them, and not to sell their jobs and dreams to the highest bidder.
In response to this story, Sen. Sessions’ spokesperson told Breitbart News, “The key to winning in 2016 is proving to the working men and women of the country that you will serve their needs– not the needs of the political class– first and always.”
Donald Trump has long been a conservative favorite for his tough stance on immigration and trade and his message that we need to bring jobs back to the United States of America and put the needs of the American people first. A continued emphasis on this message and consultation with Sen. Sessions will send a resounding signal to millions of blue collar American voters across the country that a vote for Trump may be their best chance at regaining control over their collapsing economic futures.