John Derbyshire: Trump Moving Slowly—But Sessions Moving Fast!
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[Adapted from the latest Radio Derb, now available exclusively on]

It's early days yet in the Trump presidency, but there's a general feeling it's not going very well. Except, of course, for the work of our splendid Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Even partisan types are generally willing to cut a new president some slack—the so-called "honeymoon." Nope: Ten weeks in, Trump is graded F by a third of voters and his approval rating is down from a month ago.

You can discount that some for the relentless Main Stream Media hostility to the President and the high temperature of the Cold Civil War after eight years of far-Left government. That isn't all of it, though.

I'm a Trump supporter myself, and a Trump voter. I was out there on March 4th in a freezing wind demonstrating my support. And sure, government isn't easy. And yes, we should go down on our knees daily to thank whatever supernatural powers there be that Mrs. Clinton isn't in charge of the executive branch.

Still I'm tasting disappointment. I was looking for something bolder, more vigorous. I was looking for some fighting spirit.

Why are the so-called "DREAMers"—illegal aliens—still allowed to sign up for their benefits? Why aren't they just deported?

What, we can't separate families? Fine: deport the families, too.

I was looking for a firm re-establishment of the rule of law. I'm getting … nothing much.

Speaking of the rule of law, when did it become the case that some circuit court judge could set the nation's immigration policy? Why didn't the executive just slap the guy down Andy Jackson-style, and tell government employees to follow the President's order?

What, those employees would then be arrested? By whom? Whom do you call to arrest federal law-enforcement agents?

Or, if it's very punctilious adherence to the letter of the law that's wanted, let's start arresting big-city mayors and college presidents who harbor illegal aliens, and the principals of firms who knowingly employ them.

And what about some action on legal immigration? Two congresscritters, one Democrat and one Republican, have introduced a bill that, quote from the GOP-critter "protects American workers by preventing bad actors from abusing the system in order to offshore jobs." This is supposed to address the abuse of H-1B visas, most famously at the Disney company, more recently at the University of California—organizations replacing American IT workers with cheaper foreigners.

In fact, as NumbersUSA has pointed out, the bill does diddly to address H-1B abuse. Probably it was just dictated to the congresscritters by their donors from the cheap-labor lobby without passing through the critters' brains, assuming they have any. How about we just abolish H-1B, Mr. President. Hello? Mr. President? …

And then there are the President's new military deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. What's up with that? Why are Iraq and Afghanistan still our business? Has Trump just been buffaloed by his generals? Is there something we didn't try during sixteen years chasing jihadis around Afghanistan, something that two hundred new guys will be able to accomplish?

Sure, I know Trump promised on the campaign trail to defeat ISIS. I assumed he meant by proxy, leaving the wet work to the Russians, Syrians, Israelis, and Iranians. I thought perhaps we might be entering a new era of cold self-interest towards foreign groups and nations that annoy or harm us: Nuke 'em, bribe 'em, or leave 'em alone.

I guess I was naive.

The fiasco over the healthcare bill didn't help. It was mainly the failure of the President's party in Congress. I'm still hoping it moved the balance of power some from Congress to the Presidency. But what's the use of that if the President won't fight?

Then on Wednesday this week I read that President Trump is addressing the plague of opioid addiction that he promised on the campaign trail to deal with. [After pledging to solve opioid crisis, Trump’s strategy underwhelms, , By Dan Diamond and Sarah Karlin-Smith, Politico, March 29, 2017] So what's he going to do? Ratchet up sentences for dealers? Open new treatment centers for addicts? Put troops on the Mexican border?

No: He's appointed a commission under Open-Borders shill Chris Christie.

I guess it's fair enough to give Christie a job after he came out early for Trump. But really, Mr. President. Appoint a commission? This is lame.

We didn't vote for lame.

The hungry sheep look up and are not fed, Mr. President. Grab a shillelagh and lay about you. Chase the money-changers from the temple. Brandish your saber and charge the enemy. I'm running out of metaphors, but you get the idea.

You're a believer: take Longfellow's advice:

Act,—act in the living Present!

Heart within, and God o'erhead!

So amid those doubts and worries, it was wonderful to see U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions declare on Monday that sanctuary cities are going to pay a price for defying federal law.

The Attorney General's speech was mostly hortatory, urging jurisdictions to comply with the relevant federal law, which he helpfully named by section and paragraph. He showed a glimpse of iron fist inside the velvet glove, though, asserting that Justice will claw back grants from jurisdictions that defy the law, and make future grants conditional on compliance with the law.


The American people want and deserve a lawful system of immigration that keeps us safe, and one that serves the national interest. This expectation is reasonable, just, and our government has the duty to meet it, and we will meet it.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Delivers Remarks on Sanctuary Jurisdictions, March 27, 2017

Now that's more like it: Good plain speaking from an immigration patriot.

Sessions doubled down on that in an appearance on the O'Reilly show Thursday evening, hinting that the administration would deploy further measures against scofflaw jurisdictions. He didn't specify what those further measures might be, but I assume Sessions has figured that there are other monies the government might withhold—other than DOJ grants—without colliding with the doctrine of "unconstitutional conditions."

The A-G's Monday speech threw the scofflaws into shrieking fits. Here's one of them, name of Bill Ong Hing, billed as a law professor and expert in immigration law at the University of San Francisco. Once again, just to press it home, the speaker here is a professor of law:

Sanctuary cities are saying, "We want every member of the community to trust us, and that can be only if we're not viewed as partners of ICE."

Column Here's what Atty. Gen. Sessions got wrong about the law in his attack on sanctuary cities, by Michael Hiltzik, LA TIMES, March 28, 2017

So this law professor is telling us it would be wrong for municipal authorities to be seen as partners of federal law enforcement. The person best known for making that argument was the late George Wallace, as I recall.

Professor Hing's faculty biography tells us that "Throughout his career, Professor Bill Ong Hing pursued social justice.” Well, I guess that's being up front about it, at least.

The LAT quotes another legal eagle, although this time just a lawyer, not a law professor. This is Joseph Cotchett [Email him]who is representing the city of Richmond, California in a lawsuit challenging the legality of President Trump's January 25th executive order on sanctuary cities. Said Mr. Cotchett to the LA Times:

This is all politics, aiming to divide people.
Well, yes, the executive order seeks to divide law-abiding persons from non-law-abiding persons. That's not politics, though: that's law enforcement.

Another sound bite we've been hearing after Jeff Sessions' speech is that crime in sanctuary cities is actually lower than in non-sanctuary cities. That's the conclusion in a report out of the University of California San Diego. The author of the report, Political Science Assistant Professor Tom Wong—lot of monosyllabic names in this zone, apparently—the author claims to have found that crime in sanctuary cities is actually lower than in non-sanctuary cities.

I'm not impressed with the statement as quoted.   The great iron law of crime statistics is that blacks are way, way more criminal than other groups. So if sanctuary cities have fewer blacks than non-sanctuary cities, which is very likely the case, the result will follow.

Did Professor Wong allow for that? When I’ve finished the report, I'll tell you. But I think I know the answer already.

As Ann Coulter has pointed out tirelessly in her books and columns, the acceptable number of crimes committed by illegal aliens—or for that matter by legal ones—is zero. That they have lower crime rates than some other subgroup is not interesting. We shouldn't be importing criminals at all—much less allowing criminals to import themselves, without our permission.

So all hail Attorney General Sessions! I've cheered myself just by writing about him.

If the General won't mind me recycling an ancient joke: Sanctuary much!


John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him. ) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He’s had two books published by FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and From the Dissident Right II: Essays 2013. His writings are archived at

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