MSNBC’s Russert: By Endorsing Trump’s Immigration Plan, Sessions Drives the Narrative

Monday on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” guest host Luke Russert said Sen Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who he called “the gatekeeper for any possibility of immigration reform,” giving a “full-throated endorsement,” to GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s immigration plan means it is now the “blueprint for Republicans.”

Alan Gomez, an immigration reporter at USA Today, said, “Well, that’s the — the interesting thing about Donald Trump’s immigration plan, is, if you look at the totality of it, the vast majority is pretty much the Republican playbook on immigration right now. He talks quite a bit about adding more border security, adding more immigration enforcement agents around the country, more worksite raids. I mean, these are things that you — you’ll find in Jeb Bush’s plan, Marco Rubio’s plan, Ted Cruz’s, and just about every GOP hopeful. Where he really goes all — where he really goes extreme is…how he would treat undocumented youth. So, these kids that were brought here by their parents, or people that are born here to undocumented immigrants. And that’s, I think, where he goes really, really far right, and that’s going to give the party the most trouble. That’s what’s going to be the biggest, I think — the part that the Rubios and Bushs are not going to really want to get into him as we get into some more of these debates.”
Russert stated, “Not to mention, for a party that wants to be fiscally conservative, our own NBC News numbers crunches have said this could cost up to $200 billion to actually put forward this plan. I want to read in a little bit to this Trump idea, because Jeff Sessions, Senator from Alabama, who essentially is the gatekeeper for any possibility of immigration reform to get through the Senate, said this about Donald Trump’s plan. Quote, ‘This is exactly the plan America needs. Not only would the plan outlined in this paper work, but more quickly than many realize, most importantly, this plan re-establishes the principle that America’s immigration laws should serve the interest of its own citizens.’ That’s Jeff Sessions. To me, it’s almost like Donald Trump has become the provider of the party blueprint for Republicans on this, if Jeff Sessions is giving it a full-throated endorsement, in terms of what that means politically for the future, how do the other candidates, the Rubios and Jebs, like you mentioned, deal with that?”
Gomez said, “that’s the concern, as we start moving along here. Look, his plan is basically every anti-illegal immigration plan that’s been put forth over the last 15 years jammed into one six-page document. The concern, again, I think is going to get down to that treatment of the children. Just to give you a little context, back in 2012 when President Obama first created DACA, protecting undocumented immigrants who were brought here by their parents, there was obviously all sorts of Republican outrage over the plan, but it was more about that general idea of the president abusing his executive authority, that imperial presidency theme that they were putting forth. It wasn’t so much attacking those young undocumented immigrants. At the time I was talking to, you know, a lot of those groups that are very much against illegal immigration. And even they were saying, look, it’s kind of hard to blame these kids for something that their parents did, that idea of you can’t castigate children for the sins of the father. And so, even then, Republicans were saying, look, it’s kind of hard to really try to force these kids and throw them out of the country. And that’s the part that’s going to be really hard for these candidates, because as he’s pushing them further and further in that direction, as we saw in the 2008, 2012 Republican primary. It pushed the more moderate candidates to the right on that issue, and that’s what’s to be giving these guys a lot of heartburn right now.”
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