Jeff Sessions: Champion of the American Worker? Really?

Senator Jeff Session (R-AL) has been the Senate’s leading opponent of comprehensive immigration reform. He now chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee Immigration Subcommittee. On April 9, Senator Sessions published an opinion piece in the Washington Post, laying out his case against legal immigration.

During the immigration reform debates in previous congresses, Mr. Sessions has been an ardent opponent of giving our long-resident undocumented immigrants a way to gain legal status. In this piece, he touts his opposition to legal immigrants as well.

As is typical of immigration restrictionists, Mr. Sessions cloaks his anti-immigrant inclinations in arguments supporting the American worker. Let’s look at a couple of those arguments.

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Congress Has Abandoned Policy-Making Responsibility for Immigration. So Who’s Making Policy?

US Capitol Building with We are Closed Sign on US American Flag Background Illustration

Updated April 8.

With Congress abandoning its policy-making responsibility for immigration, policy-making initiative now rests with the executive, the states, localities, and the courts.

While Washington has been preoccupied with a fight over the president’s Executive Actions on Immigration, there is more activity on the immigration front than the president’s decrees. That activity is happening in 50 states, and in many more communities.

On March 29, Julia Preston of The New York Times wrote a nice summary of how immigration policy in this country diverges greatly among the states. She contrasts the lives of two undocumented women—one in Washington, which has enacted policies that are welcoming to immigrants, including one allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers licenses, and one in Texas, which has brought a lawsuit against the president to stop his immigration executive actions.

In general, states are divided by where immigrants live. States with significant immigrant populations, including significant populations of undocumented immigrants, tend to be more welcoming. The integration of undocumented immigrants is important to them. It is good for their economies. States with smaller immigrant populations tend to be less welcoming, and it is these states that have joined the Texas lawsuit against the president’s welcoming policies.

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