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The fox is in charge of the immigration hen house — and Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III of Alabama couldn’t be happier.
Undoubtedly one of the loudest anti-immigrant voices in the Senate, Sessions now chairs the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration, cementing the fact that the new Republican majority has absolutely zero interest in addressing a humane, permanent solution for the 11 million. In fact, he is unabashedly on a crusade against all immigrants: legal and undocumented.
(And, in case there is any doubt about who sets GOP immigration, at least in the Senate, Sessions controls the Twitter handle @ImmigrationGOP).
Now it appears that fresh off his big loss in the DHS funding fight — where he was gung-ho about a DHS shutdown, saying he was “not worried” about letting funding for the agency in charge of our nation’s security expire — Sessions appears to have a new target on his horizon.
The Homeland Security crisis might be over, but Sen. Jeff Sessions is just getting started.
The rosy-cheeked, conservative Alabaman with a distinct Southern drawl became Capitol Hill’s agitator-in-chief during the impasse over President Barack Obama’s immigration actions and the Department of Homeland Security. Mocked by the left, beloved by the hard-right and at times bothersome to fellow Republicans, Sessions rallied his party in the weeks-long standoff that ended with GOP capitulation.
But the fourth-term senator is quickly moving on from defeat to his next crusade: attacking high-skilled immigration.
Using his new gavel on the Senate immigration panel, Sessions said he plans to hold oversight hearings on H-1B visas that benefit high-skilled immigrants — one of the tech industry’s top priorities in Washington. Sessions has been in touch with tech employees who say they’ve been laid off in favor of foreign workers. And his office recently conducted a staff briefing for Senate aides, outlining what they say are abuses to the H-1B system.
“We’ve got to ask — which hasn’t been asked — what does all this do to the ability of a college graduate who’s living at home with his parents because he can’t find a job?” Sessions said in a recent interview outlining his plans. “One thing that’s accepted almost without debate is that we need more of those workers, and that’s not accurate. And we’re going to prove that’s not accurate.”
Kim goes on to note that Sessions hasn’t been just an opponent of legalizing undocumented immigrants — he’s been an opponent of legal immigration, period. No matter that this proposed H-1B visa legislation was introduced by his Republican colleague Orrin Hatch, and that it’s backed by a number of Republicans, like 2008 Republican Presidential nominee John McCain and 2016 hopeful Marco Rubio.
If it means more immigrants, it’s an automatic thumbs-down from Sessions.
Sessions needs look no further than his own Alabama to see how a state can suffer under the weight of extremism. When the Alabama legislature passed the notoriously anti-immigrant HB 56 in 2011, the life’s blood of the state’s agricultural industry — immigrant labor — fled in droves. As a result, millions in state revenue were lost as crops literally rotted away unpicked in fields.
Now with Sessions at the helm of the Republican Senate’s immigration committee, it could be safe to assume anything getting his nod of approval in the new Congress will be no less than Alabama-on-steroids.
America’s Voice Executive Director Frank Sharry adds to Kim’s piece: “The people he talks to represent a sliver of the American people, a portion of the Republican base and not the changing America that is transforming the electorate. You go, Jeff. Hasten the demise of your party so we can pass immigration reform.”
Sessions and his anti-immigrant cabal, which includes the Tanton network organizations like CIS, NumbersUSA and FAIR, seem determined to make that happen.