Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions told the Senate Tuesday morning that voters believe immigration policy should prioritize the needs of American workers.
Sessions’ remark came when Democratic Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin claimed Sessions would not support a “humane” rewrite of the nation’s immigration law. “There’s not a spot of evidence in your career to suggest that as Attorney General you would use the authority of that office to resolve the challenges of our broken immigration system in a fair and humane manner,” Durbin said to Sessions. “Tell me I’m wrong.”
“Well, you are wrong, Senator Durbin,” Sessions replied, adding:
I’m going to follow the laws passed by Congress. As a matter of policy, we disagreed on some of those issues. I do believe that if you continually go through a cycle of amnesty that you undermine the respect for the law and encourage more illegal immigration into America. I believe the American people spoke clearly in this election. I believe they agreed with my basic view.
Throughout the 2016 election, the American people rejected multiple candidates who ran on a position of immigration amnesty in favor of a now President-elect Donald Trump, whom Sessions endorsed and who was vocal about his desire to enforce U.S. immigration law. In addition, the American people have considered and rejected various amnesty proposals on multiple occasions, including in 2006, 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2014.
Ken Palinkas, the former head of the nation’s immigration caseworkers—Citizenship and Immigration Services—has warned that the DREAM Act proposals to give amnesty to illegal aliens who allegedly came to the U.S. as minors, a policy which has been championed by Durbin, would expand birthright citizenship to include the foreign-born (today it is applied to the U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants).
Palinkas has explained that DREAMer amnesty “extend[s] birthright citizenship in the future to include the foreign citizens of other countries” and represents a promise of “perpetual amnesty.” Palinkas has argued that the concept of DREAMers was intended to create a permanent loophole to U.S. borders. In other Western countries all foreign nationals illegally residing in the country are subject to immigration laws. In the United States, however, the so-called DREAMer population was created in order to effectively carve out a sector of the illegal alien population who are exempt from immigration law.
During his Tuesday confirmation hearing, Sessions went on to tell the Committee that the American people are entitled to a lawful system of immigration that advances their best interests.
“It’s a good view, a decent view, a solid legal view for the United States of America that we create a lawful system of immigration that allows people to apply to this country, and if they’re get accepted, they get in. If they’re not accepted, they don’t get it. And I believe that’s right, and just, and the American people are right to ask for it. We have not delivered that for them,” Sessions said.
Sessions’ declaration is remarkably similar to prior statements made by civil rights champion and late-Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, who argued in favor of immigration control and explained that, “credibility in immigration policy can be summed up in one sentence: Those who should get in, get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave.”
Throughout the hearing, Sessions’ emphasized that it is the role of Congress to implement policies supported by the American electorate. “The best thing for us to do,” Sessions said, “[is] let’s fix this system and then we can work together after this lawlessness has been ended and then we can ask the American people and enter into a dialogue about how to compassionately treat people who have been here a long time.”
“I had a responsibility as a member of this body to express my view and vote as I believed was correct on dealing with issues of immigration,” Sessions said. “That’s not the Attorney General’s role. The Attorney General’s role is to enforce the law.”