By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R from Alabama) said on the floor of the Congress that America is not an oligarchy. President Obama and a handful of global elites shouldn’t be able to meet in secret to change American immigration laws without the consent of the Congress.
Senator Sessions said, “I have a message today to all the special interests, the global elites, the activists, and the cynical vote-counting political plotters that are meeting in secret at the White House. And the message is this: you don’t get to sit in a room and rewrite the laws of this country… America is not an oligarchy. ‘The Masters of the Universe’ don’t get to meet at the White House and decide how to run this country…If we leave town without having passed a bill to block this executive amnesty, then it will be permanent stain on this Senate, on the constitutional order, and on the tenure of this entire Senate Democrat caucus.”
Sen. Sessions said, “In a few moments, Senators in this chamber will cast one of the most important votes they will ever cast in their Senate careers. With this vote, Senators will make a simple but vital decision. It is a decision that will steer the future course of this nation. With this vote, Senators will decide whether their allegiance is to President Obama, Majority Leader Reid, and the open borders lobby, or whether their allegiance is to the American worker, the constitutional order, and our sovereign nation’s immigration laws. The choice could not be more clear. Do we, as a nation, have the right to control our own borders? That is the question every Senator will be answering today.”
Sen. Sessions said, “President Obama has announced to the entire world that he will implement a sweeping, unilateral, executive amnesty after the midterm elections. This amnesty by executive order will give, contrary to law, work permits and Social Security numbers to 5–6 million people who illegally entered the U.S., illegally overstayed their visas, or defrauded U.S. immigration authorities. With the casual stroke of a pen, the President is preparing to nullify the immigration laws of the United States. He is preparing to wipe away the lawful protections to which every American worker is entitled. He is preparing to assume for himself, and himself alone, the absolute power to decide who can enter our country, who can work in our country, and who can live in our country—by the millions—regardless of what the law says, what the citizenry says, and what the Constitution says.”
Sen. Sessions called our immigration rules, “The bedrock of any nation’s immigration laws, and indeed its very sovereignty. The President has already erased much of these rules—and his planned executive action would remove much of what remains of them. It would establish for people all over the world the principle that if you can get into America, you can stay in America and even be given the right to work in America.”
Sen. Sessions said that under President Obama’s leadership immigration officers have been barred from fulfilling their oaths to uphold the law. “The policies of this Administration represent an open invitation to the millions who enter the U.S. on visas each year to illegally overstay those visas.” “More than 99% of the immigrants apprehended with their families have so far been allowed to stay. This is in addition to the tens of thousands of migrants who have entered without their families who have been promptly released into the U.S., and many adults from Central America who have been released as well. As the President’s former ICE Director, John Sandgweg, explained, “if you are a run-of-the-mill immigrant here illegally, your odds of getting deported are close to zero. And who picks up the tab? Local school districts, local police departments, and local taxpayers.”
Sen. Sessions warned, “No nation can have a policy where people can simply show up at the border and demand to be released into the country—especially since the policy is to never seek to apprehend and deport them. But that’s what this Administration is doing right now. These policies represent a collapse of our immigration system.”
Sessions said that under Obama, asylum approval rates overall have increased dramatically even though an internal Department of Homeland Security report shows that at least 70% of asylum cases contain proven or possible fraud.”
Sen. Sessions said that the President of the National Citizenship and Immigration Services Council, Kenneth Palinkas, said that ‘USCIS adjudications officers are pressured to rubber stamp applications instead of conducting diligent case review and investigation. The culture at USCIS encourages all applications to be approved, discouraging proper investigation into red flags and discouraging the denial of any applications. USCIS has been turned into an ‘approval machine,’” and that ”‘Large swaths of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) are not effectively enforced for legal immigrants and visa holders.’”
Sen. Sessions warned, “Consider what will happen to our system if the President goes through with his plan to provide unilateral executive amnesty to illegal workers and visa violators. What immigration law will be left?” “And when millions more enter illegally asking for their amnesty, will the President print work permits for them too?”
Sen. Sessions said, “When the American people learned what was in the Senate amnesty and guest worker bill—for which every single Senate Democrat voted—the people said: no, no, no. And the House stopped the plan. But now the same groups who wrote this bill are working with the White House to extract these benefits through executive fiat. They had at least 20 secret meetings in July and August alone to plan and execute their scheme. These measures, we are informed, would include a massive expansion in the admission of new foreign workers—including more workers for IT giants who are laying off Americans. We learned from Rutgers Professor Hal Salzman that 2/3 of all new IT jobs are now already being filled by foreign guest workers. Wages are falling. Americans wish to see record legal immigration levels reduced, not increased, by a 3-1 margin, and yet Senate Democrats are colluding with the White House to dramatically surge the supply of low-paid labor to fill open jobs.”
Sen. Sessions said, “I also have a message for the American people: you have been right from the beginning. You have justly demanded that our borders be controlled, our laws enforced, and that, at long last, immigration policy serve the needs of our own people first. For this virtuous demand, you have been demeaned, even scorned by the governing class. They know so much, this cosmopolitan elite. They want you to believe your concerns are somehow illegitimate. That you are wrong for being worried about your jobs, or your schools, or your hospitals, or your communities, or your national security. These elite citizens of the world speak often of their concern for people living in poverty overseas, yet turn a blind eye to the poverty and suffering in their own country. They don’t want you to speak up. They don’t want you to be heard. They don’t want you to feel you have a voice.”
Senate Democrats eventually blocked by a vote of 50–50 the effort to prevent President Obama from moving forward with his plan to implement a unilateral executive amnesty. President Obama is expected to implement his unilateral changes to American immigration policy after the November elections no matter which party is victorious in the November elections.
U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions is a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and serves on the Senate’s Armed Services, Environment and Public Works, and as the Ranking Member of the Budget Committee.
Today is Thanksgiving
Today is a national and state holiday. Schools, banks, government offices and many private businesses are closed.
Four hundred years ago, on Nov. 11, 1620, after 66 days at sea, a group of English settlers landed near what is today Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Onboard the Mayflower were 102 men, women, and children, including one baby born during the Atlantic crossing, who made up the Pilgrims.
The Mayflower, captained by Christopher Jones, had been bound for the mouth of the Hudson River. The ship took a northerly course to avoid pirates, but the decision to avoid the then widely traveled sea lanes to the New World took the ship into bad weather, which had blown the Mayflower miles off course and left the ship damaged. Off Cape Cod, the adult males in the group made the fateful decision to build an entire colony where none had existed prior. They wrote and signed the Mayflower Compact.
“In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France, and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith, etc. Having undertaken for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the First Colony in the Northern Parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one of another, Covenant and Combine ourselves together in a Civil Body Politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute and frame such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod, the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France and Ireland the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini 1620.”
After a few weeks off Cape Cod, they sailed up the coast until they reached Plymouth. There they found a Wampanoag Indian village that had been abandoned due to some sort of plague. During the Winter of 1620-1621 they lived aboard the Mayflower and would row to shore each day to build houses. Finally, they had built enough houses to actually move to the colony, but the cold, damp conditions aboard the ship had been costly.
Some 28 men, 13 women (one of them in child birth), and 8 children died in that winter. Governor John Carver would die in April. His widow, Kathrine White Carver, would follow a few weeks later. There is some recent archaeological evidence suggesting that some of the dead were butchered and eaten by the survivors.
The Mayflower and her crew left for England on April 5, 1621, never to return.
About 40 of the Pilgrims were religious Separatists, members of a Puritan sect that had split from the Church of England, in defiance of English law. In 1609, they immigrated to Holland to practice their religion but ran into problems there too. Others in the group had remained part of the Church of England but were sympathetic to their Separatist friends. They did not call themselves Pilgrims, that term was adopted at the bicentennial for the Mayflower voyage. The members of core Separatist sect referred to themselves as “Saints” and people not in their sect as “Strangers.”
In March 1621, an English speaking Native American, named Samoset, visited the Plymouth colony and asked for beer. He spent the night talking with the settlers and later introduced them to Squanto, who spoke even better English. Squanto introduced them to the chief of the Wampanoag, Massasoit.
Squanto moved in with the Pilgrims, serving as their advisor and translator. The friendly Wampanoag tribe taught the Pilgrims how to hunt and grow crops. The two groups began trading furs with each other.
William Bradford, a Separatist who helped draft the Mayflower Compact, became the longtime Plymouth Governor. He was also the writer of the first history of the Plymouth Colony and the Mayflower. Bradford’s more notable descendants include author, dictionary writer and scholar Noah Webster; TV chef Julia Child; and Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist.
In the fall of 1621, 399 years ago, the Pilgrims invited their Wampanoag Indian friends to a feast celebrating their first harvest and a year in the New World with a three-day festival. This has become known as the first Thanksgiving.
Today is a national and state holiday. Schools, banks, government offices and many private businesses are closed.
Alabama hospitals nearing COVID-19 summer surge levels
Wednesday was the 18th straight day with more than 1,000 people in hospitals in Alabama with COVID-19.
Alabama hospitals reported caring for 1,483 people infected with COVID-19 on Wednesday, the highest number of patients since Aug. 11, when the state was enduring its summer surge. Wednesday was also the 18th straight day with more than 1,000 people in hospitals in Alabama with COVID-19.
The seven-day average of hospitalizations was 1,370 on Wednesday, the 36th straight day of that average rising. The Alabama Department of Public Health reported 2,453 new cases Wednesday. The 14-day average of new cases was — for the eighth day in a row — at a record high of 2,192.
Across the country, more than 80,000 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 on Tuesday, a record high and the 15th straight day of record hospitalizations nationwide, according to the COVID Tracking Project, a coronavirus tracking website.
The CDC this week recommended people not travel for Thanksgiving to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
“The only way for us to successfully get through this pandemic is if we work together,” said Dr. Kierstin Kennedy, UAB’s chief of hospital medicine, in a message Tuesday. “There’s no one subset of the community that’s going to be able to carry the weight of this pandemic and so we all have to take part in wearing our masks, keeping our distance, making sure that we’re washing our hands.”
Kennedy said the best way she can describe the current situation is “Russian Roulette.”
“Not only in the form of, maybe you get it and you don’t get sick or maybe you get it and you end up in the ICU,” Kennedy said, “but if you do end up sick, are you going to get to the hospital at a time when we’ve got capacity, and we’ve got enough people to take care of you? And that is a scary thought.”
The Alabama Department of Public Health on Wednesday reported an increase of 60 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. Deaths take time to confirm and the date a death is reported does not necessarily reflect the date on which the individual died. At least 23 of those deaths occurred in November, and 30 occurred in other months. Seven were undated. Data for the last two to three weeks are incomplete.
As of Wednesday, at least 3,532 Alabamians have died of COVID-19, according to the Department of Public Health. During November, at least 195 people have died in Alabama from COVID-19. But ADPH is sure to add more to the month’s tally in the weeks to come as data becomes more complete.
ADPH on Wednesday announced a change that nearly doubled the department’s estimate of people who have recovered from COVID-19, bringing that figure up to 161,946. That change also alters APR’s estimates of how many cases are considered active.
ADPH’s Infectious Disease and Outbreak team “updated some parameters” in the department’s Alabama NEDSS Base Surveillance System, which resulted in the increase, the department said.
Judge reduces former Alabama Speaker Mike Hubbard’s prison sentence
The trial court judge ordered his 48-month sentence reduced to 28 months.
Lee County Circuit Court Judge Jacob Walker on Wednesday reduced former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard’s prison sentence from four years to just more than two.
Walker in his order filed Wednesday noted that Hubbard was sentenced to fours years on Aug. 9, 2016, after being convicted of 12 felony ethics charges for misusing his office for personal gain, but that on Aug. 27, 2018, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals reversed convictions on one counts. The Alabama Supreme Court later struck down another five counts.
Hubbard’s attorneys on Sept. 18 filed a motion to revise his sentence, to which the state objected, according to court records, arguing that “Hubbard’s refusal to admit any guilt or express any remorse makes him wholly unfit to receive any leniency.”
Walker in his order cited state code and wrote that the power of the courts to grant probation “is a matter of grace and lies entirely within the sound discretion of the trial court.”
“Furthermore, the Court must consider the nature of the Defendant’s crimes. Acts of public corruption harm not just those directly involved, but harm society as a whole,” Walker wrote.
Walker ruled that because six of Hubbard’s original felony counts were later reversed, his sentence should be changed to reflect that, and ordered his 48-month sentence reduced to 28 months.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall on Wednesday said Walker’s decision to reduce Hubbard’s sentence was the wrong message to send.
“Mr. Hubbard was convicted of the intentional violation of Alabama’s ethics laws, the same laws he championed in the legislature only later to brazenly disregard for his personal enrichment,” Marshall said in a statement. “Even as he sits in state prison as a six-time felon, Mike Hubbard continues to deny any guilt or offer any remorse for his actions in violation of the law. Reducing his original four-year sentence sends precisely the wrong message to would-be violators of Alabama’s ethics laws.”
Nick Saban tests positive for COVID-19, has “mild symptoms”
It’s unlikely Saban will be able to coach in person during Saturday’s Iron Bowl against Auburn.
University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban has tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the Iron Bowl and has mild symptoms, according to a statement from the university on Wednesday.
“This morning we received notification that Coach Saban tested positive for COVID-19,” said Dr. Jimmy Robinson and Jeff Allan, associate athletic director, in the statement. “He has very mild symptoms, so this test will not be categorized as a false positive. He will follow all appropriate guidelines and isolate at home.”
Saban had previously tested positive before Alabama’s game against Georgia but was asymptomatic and subsequently tested negative three times, a sign that the positive test could have been a false positive. He returned to coach that game.
It’s unlikely Saban will be able to coach in person during Saturday’s Iron Bowl against Auburn, given the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for quarantining after testing positive and with symptoms. Neither Saban nor the university had spoken about that possibility as of Wednesday morning.