A lot has been said about Candidate Trump’s statements regarding immigrants,”Mexicans,” and “the wall.” Many people, especially recent immigrants and those that know them, have had a visceral reaction to these statements and consider Trump “anti-immigrant” and unfit to lead an immigrant nation. But I have to tell you, these nativist statements are not the reason why a Trump Presidency would destroy immigration to America. There is another reason; the overarching cause of Trump’s march toward a walled America, isolated from the rest of the work, self focused, and limiting in integration and growth–Senator Jeff Sessions.
That’s right. Senator Jeff Sessions, the first Senator to hop on board the Trump express. You have to ask yourself, why would a sitting U.S. Senator, with a lot to lose, get so cozy, so early with a candidate in the primaries. The answer is simple. Trump talked the talk that Senator Sessions understands. The dog whistle politics of nativism, limited population, and class separation. Trump has repeatedly said, since Senator Sessions joined his campaign, that Sessions would be a fine Secretary of Homeland Security, and that he was also serving as his primary advisor on foreign affairs and nationalsecurity. This fact, should deeply concern anyone who understands the background and beliefs of Senator Sessions.
Let’s start off with the easy stuff. Then U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions (for the Alabama) was denied a Federal District Court Judgeship by the United States Senate in 1986 because he was accused of making numerous racial remarks and taking race based actions against members of his own U.S. Attorney office. You might want to watch this video of SenatorTed Kennedy calling out Jeff Sessions on his actions and Sessions complete inability to respond to these allegations. So, we know this– Sessions has been found to have committed overt acts of racism in the past.
Subsequently, Sessions was elected as Attorney General in Alabama for two years and then won an election to succeed Democratic Senator Howell Heflinin 1996. Senator Sessions’s web page speaks volumes about his stance on the immigration issue, and if he were to become Trump’s Secretary of Homeland Security, you would likely see massive changes in how our current laws and regulations operate in regards to legal immigrants. These changes would not just be an increase in enforcement, but rather deeper and more troubling changes in a more limited legal immigration.
From Senator Sessions’s website he makes it clear that he wants to shrink legal immigration into the United States:
Senator Sessions is committed to immigration reform that serves the national interest – not the special interests – and that curbs the unprecedented flow of immigration that is sapping the wages and job prospects of those living and working here today.”
Sessions clearly opposes President Obama’s DACA and DAPA program:
“Sessions has also been a leading opponent of President Obama’s unconstitutional executive amnesties, which gives jobs and benefits to illegal workers at the expense of struggling families.”
By calling them “executive amnesties” (whatever that means) he tries to denigrate the process by which Obama is creating deportation priorities in light of Sessions’s own failures to allocate sufficient funds to carry out Trump’s $400 billion dollar promise (and Obama’s attempt) to deport all of the undocumented.
Senator Sessions has repeatedly sponsored legislation that both limits the rights of all immigrants to challenge their removal, and has called on both Republican and Democratic administrations to “enforce” immigration law, despite not actually sponsoring any bills in 20 years to increase funding to do so.
Sessions also receives an A+ from the anti-population, nativist group Numbers USA on his ratings on reducing legal immigration to the US.
With this understanding of exactly where Senator Sessions’s beliefs are in the context of legal immigration, next imagine him and his minions implementing these policies as Secretary of Homeland Security. And, you also have to know how Trump answered Jeff Sessions questions on legal immigration, featured prominently on the Numbers USA website:
Question 4: A super-majority of GOP voters say immigration is too high. Every year, on autopilot, we let in another one million immigrants on green cards, 700,000 foreign guest workers, half a million foreign students, and 100,000 refugees and asylees. Historical precedent would be to reduce record-breaking immigration, rather than continuing to surge it beyond all historical precedent. Will you support legislation to reduce immigration numbers, and will you oppose legislation that would add to the number?
ANSWER: I will support legislation to reduce the numbers, and will oppose legislation to increase the numbers. I have laid out a detailed plan to accomplish this goal on my website. My suggested reforms include a requirement to give all open jobs to Americans first — instead of importing foreign replacements.
So, there you have it. Senator Sessions is the one reason why a Trump Presidency would destroy immigration to America. If that is not enough for you, perhaps you can imagine the the following is a brief list of what we would certainly see in the administrative reduction of legal immigration to the U.S., if Jeff Sessions were the Secretary of Homeland Security:
- The ending of Parole in Place enabling family members of US military members to adjust status;
- The ending of DAPA and DACA, and the recreating of undocumented status for these groups;
- The ending of Advance Parole as a lawful admission for adjustment purposes;
- The limiting of EB-5 usage by revisions to processes and regulations that will make EB-5 Regional Centers difficult, if not impossible to operate;
- The increase of unregulated scrutiny of H-1B, L-1, and E-2 applications for US and international business seeking to expand in the US;
- The constricting of the interpretation of lawful presence and the expansion of what constitutes unlawful presence for adjustment and consular processing purposes;
- The expansion of restrictive reading of existing law for individual immigrants with extraordinary and exceptional ability and national interest waivers;
- The limiting of relief for minors under the Special Immigration Juvenile program; and
- An increasing number of RFEs and denials for EB-2 and EB-3 immigrant visa applications in the context of education and experience requirements and ability to pay wages by a continuing shifting of interpretation of existing law.
This is only a partial list; many readers can imagine other shifts of interpretative process by a Sessions’s lead Department of Homeland Security both in legal immigration processing, and also in the enforcement and admissions areas.
At the end of the day, each of us votes as Americans on topics and issues that are most important to us. That said. the immigration issue is an overarching concern that most Americans simply to not understand. It is very easy to buy into the nativist “us v. them” rhetoric and to blame one’s own problems and sufferings on the “other.” However, looked at without bias, the only proper conclusion one can come to is that legal immigration has been the “thing” that makes America great. Legal immigration at its current level still leaves millions of people in the “line.” to get into our country. And, legal immigration is the lifeblood for bringing people to the U.S. who create jobs, complete families, and stimulate our economic growth. Listening to someone like Senator Sessions, a shill for the non-conservative anti-immigration movement, is the exact opposite of what a real American leader (and the son of an immigrant) should do. Following a Trump/Sessions presidency, my greatest fear would be a weakened America who’s “shining city on a hill” has been tarnished and snuffed out by those who are afraid of the future, and those who are protecting a mythical past which never existed. Think about that when you are ready to vote.