With only fifty one votes needed Jeff Sessions, will likely be confirmed as Attorney General. Senator Sessions was one of the first politicians to publicly back Trump as he ran for president. This has allowed Sen. Sessions to have a major voice in shaping many of Trump’s policies — none as big as the immigration platform that Trump ran on during the campaign.
At times, Trump’s immigration policies have been controversial. He is on record saying, “within ICE, I am going to create a special deportation taskforce,” and also for calling for a ban on Muslims entering the country. While he has walked back on some of his comments by choosing to nominate Senator Sessions as America’s top cop, he has essentially taken a hard-line stance on immigration.
Senator Sessions is not new on Capitol Hill. He has served the state of Alabama for 20 years and has often been the leading voice on immigration, even when the message was not popular. If confirmed, he will have immediate powers to oversee immigration policy and to decide which immigration violations to crack down on.
One such policy that Senator Sessions and Mr. Trump have been very vocal about is cutting off funding for “sanctuary cities,” cities that do not enforce any immigration laws. It has caused many advocates for immigration much anxiety.
“Sen. Sessions’ public statements and history on immigration give [us] real reason to be concerned that his positions, if confirmed as attorney general, would not uphold the values embodied in the Constitution to protect due process and fairness,” said Greg Chen, director of advocacy for the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
Senator Sessions has many immigration activists up in arms and looking to challenge him, someone whom they view as far outside the mainstream. He is also supported by many Americans that feel that his policies are much needed after eight years of Barrack Obama’s lax immigration enforcement.
“He’s got an absolutely huge role in it,” said Hans von Spakovsky, a former DOJ official under President George W. Bush, of the influence that Sessions would wield over immigration as attorney general. “I don’t expect any surprises. He’s been very up front in saying he wants to see the law enforced.”
Senator Sessions, if confirmed must help Mr. Trump hold the line on immigration and not cave to the immense pressure coming their way, not only from the mainstream media and the democrats, but also against the pressures they will face from their own party.
McCain said he holds the view of most Senate Democrats that any border security changes should be part of a broader immigration measure to address the status of some or all of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.
Senator McCain is already voicing his concern about deporting undocumented immigrants and pushing for amnesty and he won’t be the only one. Trump has repeatedly said that there will be no amnesty for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the country. And while that stance helped him win the election, his penchant for making a deal may cause him to soften his tone, and that’s where Mr. Sessions must use his influence that he has cultivated, to not only keep Trump from caving into pressure, but to continue to forge a clear message and stance on immigration policy.