By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Wednesday, September 28, US Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) sharply criticized President Obama’s controversial plan to dramatically increase the number of refugees coming into the country. Sessions comments were made at a Senate hearing on the plan.
Sen. Sessions said, “The tragic reality is, that we have millions of displaced people in the world today—people who are short of food and water and endangered by conflicts throughout various regions of the world. No one disputes that most are victims. This is a humanitarian disaster and it could even be worse in the future. I think it’s important for government leaders to consult something more than their feelings as we deal with nations in unstable areas of the world. Good intentions are not enough. They can lead to disastrous consequences and put stresses on human beings.“
Sen. Sessions said, “The challenge for us is to focus on what we can do to help in the best possible way, but we must also consider our limits. We must not endanger our homeland and use our resources unwisely, we must be highly effective in what we do to try to improve this situation. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration has presented the American people with a false dichotomy. According to the Administration, we either permanently resettle hundreds of thousands of refugees in the United States, or we do nothing.”
Sen. Sessions warned, “The Obama Administration presses forward with plans to admit hundreds of thousands of largely unvettable refugees from areas of the world that are producing terrorists and extremists.”
Sen. Sessions stated, “I have long argued that the most effective and compassionate strategy—and certainly the only long-term strategy that can actually work for millions of people—is to establish ‘safe zones’ to resettle Middle-Eastern refugees as close to their homes as possible. By doing so, we can more effectively provide protection for refugees and otherwise displaced persons, at a fraction of the cost that it takes to resettle them in the United States.”
The conservative Alabama Senators said, “Instead, President Obama has pushed to expand the annual admission of refugees from 70,000 in FY 2015, and 85,000 in FY 2016, to 110,000 beginning this Saturday—on top of asylum admissions, green cards, foreign workers, and all other forms of immigration into the United States.” “The American people strongly oppose these policies. According to the most recent Rasmussen Reports poll, 48 percent of Americans do not want any more refugees, with an additional 26 percent supporting much lower numbers than what the President has proposed. This means that a total of 74 percent of Americans do not support these increases.”
Sessions added, “The Director of National Intelligence, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Secretary of Homeland Security have acknowledged that terrorists could infiltrate the refugee population. It is simply not possible to vet Syrian refugees or other similarly-situated refugees. There are no reliable records in Syria. There is no way to prevent refugees who embrace the tenets of theocratic Islam from being radicalized after their entry to the United States.”
Sen. Sessions said, “It is simply naïve to imagine that we can let in millions of immigrants from around the world and screen out all of the potential terrorists. It has been proven over and over again, our ability to do so is not there. Perhaps one of the main reasons why we have such a problem is that we do not screen refugees for their likelihood of success after they are admitted to the United States, ability to assimilate and adopt our legal and constitutional values, views toward the treatment of women and homosexuals, views on honor killings, and views on the supremacy of the Constitution of the United States.”
Sen. Sessions went on, “There are now nearly 10,000 open terrorism-related investigations across the country. There is an active investigation in every state. Our dedicated law enforcement officers carry a tremendous burden to keep our country safe every day. But it is impossible for them to bear that burden if the Obama Administration does not even recognize the fundamental challenges we face today and continues to admit those who carry significant risks of becoming involved with terrorism after their admission to the United States. I would note, that Director Comey has also said that if you imagine we’re going to give full surveillance to a person that might pose a threat to the United States, it would take 30 agents a week to monitor one single individual effectively. It is physically impossible to do that.”
Sessions added, “In addition to the very serious national security implications and the initial resettlement costs, admitting 110,000 refugees will result in an enormous long-term financial burden on the taxpayers. Robert Rector, Senior Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, has estimated that the total lifetime cost of admitting 10,000 refugees—which includes all costs at the federal, state, and local level—is $6.5 billion. Using Mr. Rector’s numbers as a baseline, admitting the 110,000 refugees that the Obama Administration proposes beginning on October 1 will result in a total lifetime cost to the taxpayers of $71.5 billion.”
Sessions said, “We must change course. If we cannot ensure adequate screening of any individual, we must not admit them to the United States, period. We must only admit those who support and share our values. And we must only admit the number of immigrants that we can absorb into our society. We have admitted 59 million immigrants since 1965, and we are adding the equivalent of 1 new city the size of Los Angeles through immigration alone every 3 years. It is time for us to focus on the task of helping all of our residents living here today rise into a stable middle class—instead of continuing to increase the pressures on our working families by admitting new workers. This becomes even more imperative at a time when automation is permanently changing the entire structure of our labor market.”
Senator Sessions has been a vocal opponent of Obama Administration efforts to radically increase the number of immigrants allowed into this country. Sessions spearheaded efforts to defeat the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill even though it had the support of Senate leaders, Speaker John Boehner (R), and President Obama. Sessions has been extremely active on the national stage, appearing on talk radio shows and cable news explaining his views on immigration and why our nation should put the interests of the American worker first.
Sen. Sessions border security plan heavily influenced the plan put forward by Presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and flipped the discussion to immigration and border security during the Republican primaries. That issue helped catapult Trump to the Republican nomination in a field of 17 GOP contenders, many of whom had been on the national stage for over a decade.
Sessions is the Chairman of the subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest.
Sen. Sessions previously has served Alabama as US Attorney for the Southern District, Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party and as Alabama Attorney General.
The very popular Senator Sessions was re-elected to his fourth term in 2014 with no opposition from either political party.