Senator Jeff Sessions has established himself as one of the leading opponents of immigration reform. We expect him to put on quite a show against immigration reform as markup continues over the next few weeks.
Today, Sessions began challenging Chuck Schumer over aspects of the “Gang of Eight” bill. But Schumer was having none of it, and challenged Sessions to offer an alternative plan. As Schumer said, “I await your comprehensive immigration bill, your solution to the 11 million here, families torn apart.”
Sessions has a solution: self-deportation (not that he’ll say it aloud). But Sessions supported Alabama’s self-deportation law, HB 56, and one of his witnesses at a recent Senate Judiciary hearing–Kris Kobach–doubled down on his support of that policy.
Here’s the full exchange. It’s worth a watch:
At Think Progress, Igor Volsky’s post on the Schumer-Sesssions interaction is appropriately titled: Schumer Destroys Top GOP Talking Point Against Immigration Reform. From Igor:
In a tense and lengthy exchange with Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Schumer argued that most of the individuals and families who would attain legal status under the bill are already working in the U.S. economy illegally or are currently in the backlogs of the immigration system. “I await your amendment on what we do with the people who are not here legally now, okay?” Schumer said. “If you believe that they should all be self-deported or whatever else, I’d like to hear,” he added, before accusing Republicans of throwing out estimates of new immigration without comparing those figures to the cost of doing nothing.
Again, the thing is, Sessions does believe in self-deportation. He just doesn’t want to say it.