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Sessions Opposes Leahy Amendment to Create a Global ‘Right To Migrate’ To the United States

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Thursday, December 10, US Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) delivered a 30 minute speech urging his fellow Senators to reject an amendment sponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) that would prevent this or any future administration from banning immigrants based on their religious beliefs.  Sessions warned that the amendment that would make global migration to the United States a “human right.”

jeff-sessionsSen. Jeff Sessions said, “With regards to immigration, it is the job of Congress to defend the rights and well-being of American citizens. That means we must look at how immigration is impacting Americans in their wages, in their salaries, in their national security.  It was five months ago that Kate Steinle died in her father’s arms on a pier in San Francisco because a repeatedly deported criminal alien was set free. What about the American workers at Disney forced to train their guest worker replacements? They claim they were discriminated against because they were Americans. Where is the bill for them?”

Sen. Sessions denounced what he called an, “Unprecedented effort to extend American’s constitutional rights and protections to foreign citizens living in foreign countries.”

Sessions said, “The adoption of the Leahy Amendment would constitute a transformation of our immigration system. In effect, it is a move toward the ratification of the idea that global migration is a ‘human right,’ and a civil right, and that these so-called ‘immigrants’ rights’ must be supreme to the rights of sovereign nations to determine who can and cannot enter their borders.  Fundamentally, foreign nationals living in foreign countries have no constitutional right to enter the United States. If they did, any alien denied entry could file suit to demand entry and claim damages for lost employment, lost welfare benefits, lost income.”

Sessions said, “Our immigration system derives exclusively from Article I, section 8, clause 4 of the United States Constitution, which vests the exclusive power in the Congress to establish a uniform system of immigration. Through acts of Congress, the United States can – and does – exclude aliens from entry into the United States for any reason provided by Congress.”

The conservative Alabama Senator said, “There are 7 billion people in the world. Choosing who can immigrate into the United States is, by definition, an exclusionary process. The goal is to select immigrants for admission based on the benefits they provide to society based on skills, ages, values, philosophy, incomes, etc. Our goal is to choose for admission those likeliest to succeed and flourish and, crucially, to support our Constitutional system of government and our values of pluralism and Republican governance.  So whereas we consider it improper to deny employment to a US citizen based on, say, their age, we consider it necessary and important to consider immigrants according to their age and whether they will be able to contribute productive years of work to American society.”

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Sen. Sessions warned, “This amendment would mean, for instance, that the United States could not favor for entry the moderate Muslim cleric over the radical Muslim cleric. We have huge unrest in the Middle East. An argument has been made by some that we should prioritize resettling Muslim immigrants in the region and prioritizing the entry of persecuted Christians; this measure would forbid such considerations. Keep in mind, current refugee law requires us to consider persecution on account of an individual’s religion; this would ask us to discard, or undermine, that longstanding practice.”

Sen. Sessions said, “No nation on earth has ever let in more people over a shorter period of time. We have admitted 59 million immigrants since 1965. We have admitted 1.5 million immigrants from Muslim countries since 9/11. We have the largest foreign-born population in our history as a raw number, and soon the largest percentage of non-native-born in the history of the Republic. As a share of population, it will soon eclipse every historical record. Meanwhile, large companies are exploiting programs to replace American workers and undermine their wages. Poor screening has resulted in thousands of crimes against Americans. Our entitlement programs are stretched. Wages have been flattened for decades. Every year, we admit another 1 million permanent immigrants, nearly 100,000 refugees and asylees, and 700,000 foreign guest workers.”

Sessions said, “Senator Leahy presents us a bold, dramatic Sense of the Senate resolution that strikes at our hearts and pulls at our values because we favor free exercise of religion. A serious discussion, colleagues, I believe, is needed before we take this step. Certainly, the point is pressed as a result of political statements, and I have tried to avoid commenting on those statements because I don’t know how to firmly answer it. I don’t know what the right response is, frankly. We need to be careful how we think about this.”  “While billions of immigrants may benefit by moving to this country, this nation state has only one responsibility. We must decide if such an admission complies with our law and serves our national interest.”  “We can say with confidence that the establishment of an immigration policy has been given to the Congress. Congress has not given rights to foreigners to go to court to demand entry into the United States. Neither does the Constitution. That is plain fact.”

Sessions said, “Senator Leahy’s resolution doesn’t explicitly assert that his demands are required by the law or the Constitution, but on America’s founding principles. He insists we must all agree that it is un-American to deny entry into America on account of one’s religion. Un-American is a strong word. Liberals have never liked it used against their world visions. The Communists certainly didn’t like it used. To affirm such a resolution would mean that religion can never be taken into account to determine admissibility – throughout all the ages this great Republic might exist.”  “If there are circumstances we can foresee that would cause open-minded, logical, fair persons acting in the national interest to decide to act contrary to this resolution, and to be morally and legally justified in so doing, then it must not pass. We have conducted no analysis of this prospect. Unless we are sure, we cannot pass such a broad resolution.”

Sen. Sessions said, “Most religions focus on one’s relationship with God. But, many religions are much broader, covering all aspects of life – including government, public policy, and law. Religions today too often are underappreciated for the good they do. In marriage, in divorce, in birth, in death, in sickness, in health, in poverty, and in wealth, religious faith, in millions, in billions of daily actions, is a force for good. Reality would be denied, however, if we do not recognize that dangerous and damaging religions and sects have arisen. At least at some points in history, most religions, or segments of them, have sought to overcome human laws and rules and impose doctrinal ideas that are contrary to good common sense and good policy, even seek to destroy established governments because they perceive that God has ordered them to do so. We may say this is not religion. But, the adherents would say it is religion indeed.”

Sessions warned, “Secretary Carter says ISIS is growing. What if it expands ever more rapidly and decides to focus its believers on a long-term effort to change the corrupt America? And their doctrines justify force, do they not? Can we say that ISIS’s form of religion is not a religion just because it is not consistent with classical Islam? Why could they not demand as strong a right to enter as a peaceful meditating Buddhist? Is it in the national interest to admit the ISIS member equally with the Buddhist?  Is it wrong to say that immigration must serve the legitimate interests of America and that others are more likely than those committed to violent ideologies? After all, we can’t admit everybody.  Is it better to admit those who admire America, affirm its constitutional order, than those who would be unhappy and unfulfilled until their vision for the country more closely parallels their religious vision – a government faithful to their theology? A theocracy?”

Sessions said, “This is a dangerous injunction, colleagues. It goes beyond being unwise. It is reckless. It is absolute and without qualification. It could have pernicious impacts for decades, even centuries to come.”  “In a time of intense political debate, we do not need to be reacting to make political points. Let’s think deeply about what this means and what the ramifications of it might be. I urge a no vote on the Leahy resolution.”

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Despite Sessions efforts the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the Leahy right-to-imigrate amendment on a bipartisan 16 to 4 vote.

Following the Islamo-fascist terror attacks on the World Trade Center, 9-11, Fort Hood, Boston, Chattanooga, Paris, and now San Bernardino many Americans are calling for more drastic solutions to prevent future terror attacks.

Republican Presidential frontrunner, New York City billionaire Donald Trump recently said that the US should impose a temporary ban on all Muslim travelers to the United States.  Trump went on to say, “Great surveillance and vigilance must be adhered to.  We want to be very fair but too many bad things are happening and the percentage of true hatred is too great. People that are looking to destroy our country must be reported and turned in by the good people who love our country and want America to be great again.”

The White House condemned Trump’s comments and demanded that he withdraw from the race.  Many fellow Republicans joined in condemning Trump.  GOP Presidential candidate, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) said, “Want to make America great again?  Tell Donald Trump to go to Hell.”

Florida Senator and Republican Presidential Candidate Marco Rubio told ABC’s, Good Morning America, “It is never going to become the law of the country, what Donald Trump is proposing.”

The Leahy amendment is a response to the Trump proposal.  If passed into law, the proposal would prevent this or a future President from banning immigrants who are Muslims (or other religions) from coming to the United States.

Despite the bipartisan furor surrounding Trumps’ comments, his poll numbers actually increased by up to 6 percentage points following the comments.

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US Sen. Jeff Sessions is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest.

(Original reporting by CNN and Fox News contributed to this report)

Written By

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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