Sessions emphasized Hillary Clinton’s open borders position as “extreme” and “an obvious evisceration of the law.” Donald Trump’s presidency would by contrast rejigger immigration into a “lawful system” that “serves the national interest.”
Senator Sessions also seemed to draw on the spirit of the late Congresswoman Barbara Jordan when he said “those who qualify can get in, and those who don’t don’t.” (Rep. Jordan declared in 1995, “Credibility in immigration policy can be summed up in one sentence: those who should get in, get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave.”)
The Alabama Senator lambasted Paul Ryan, albeit politely, by inferring the Speaker of the House has a great fondness for global trade deals — “any of them,” Sessions observed — to the degree that Ryan doesn’t bother to read them.
Bartiromo has a sense of the threat that automation is a major threat to jobs in America, saying last year, “the manufacturing jobs in particular have been taken out by technology.”
She mentioned automation again on Sunday, that Americans are not only afraid of “foreigners taking their jobs but now technology.”
Jeff Sessions knows about the automation threat to employment: in a Washington Post op-ed a year ago about immigration, he wrote, “. . .robotics and computerization are slashing demand for workers. One Oxford University professor estimates that as many as half of all jobs will be automated in 20 years. We don’t have enough jobs for our lower-skilled workers now. What sense does it make to bring in millions more?”
But I’m still waiting for him to say, “Automation makes immigration obsolete.”
MARIA BARTIROMO: [3:25] She [Clinton] has been talking a lot about what Donald Trump has been saying as it relates to immigration, as relates to trade. I want to talk about that because you’ve done so much work on immigration, and we all know that immigration is probably one of the most fundamental issues for any election, for any country — who gets to live in this country, work in this country and participate in this democracy — is really critical. So tell us, given all of the work you’ve done and the commentary out of Donald Trump, what immigration looks like in America in a Trump presidency.
SENATOR JEFF SESSIONS: Well, right now it is totally lawless. Hillary Clinton said just a few weeks ago that nobody should be deported from America who entered illegally unless they commit a violent crime: that’s to the left of President Obama’s position. She is basically creating a circumstance where nobody would be detained; it’s an obvious evisceration of the law that we have. It’s unbelievable. American people need to know more about her extreme position.
Donald Trump believes that there should be a lawful system of immigration, one that we can be proud of, one that serves the national interest, one that allows fairness when people apply, and those who qualify can get in and those who don’t don’t. That’s what a good great nation should have. He will ensure that that happens. We’re going to end the lawlessness and and protect the interests of the American people.
BARTIROMO: But how do you walk this balance of ensuring that we have fair trade and and lawful immigration but not being seen as isolationist?
SESSIONS: This is such an extreme unjustified attack. Of course Donald Trump believes in trade; he said the immigration system will be will have an open door. He’s never suggested we would end immigration. We admit a million one — 1.1 million a year lawfully now, and some of the categories are not justified and need to be altered, but he’s not saying we’re going to end immigration, is not saying we’re going to end trade. We’re going to defend the interests of the American people.
And Maria, there is no doubt, and Professor Borjas at Harvard, the expert, the top expert in the world, says that these immigration flows are pulling down wages of American workers. Why could it not? We also are going to be able to establish that the trade agreements have not worked well at all, and in fact have been damaging to the American economy. Why should we do another 5,000-page Pacific trading agreement that President Obama wrote when it’s not going to benefit us, but actually harm manufacturing in America? So I think this is not against trade and it’s not against immigration; it’s protecting the legitimate interests of the American working person.
BARTIROMO: Can you categorically say that the TPP Trans-Pacific Partnership will not go through by the end of the year, because the president says he’s gonna get this through by December? How do we know he’s not just going to go around Congress again and push it through?
SESSIONS: Maria, he may have some idea of trying to go around Congress, but I don’t think he can but they hinted that they were gonna try to ram it through in the lame-duck session after the election when apparently Congress, many of them, think they won’t be held to account by their constituents, who clearly oppose this agreement, so I’m not over-confident that it will die, but I think it has very little support now. I think it’s been falling, it’s falling in Europe for the European TTIP agreement, it’s collapsing there. I think these trade agreements are past their due.
BARTIROMO: So do you think that Donald Trump has been able to convince Paul Ryan of that? Where are the differences on the common ground there? Do you expect the House Speaker to endorse Donald Trump soon?
SESSIONS: Well I would hope so and expect so. He needs to do that we don’t need to continue to have the speaker hanging out there right now, my opinion, and I know the speaker believes in trade agreements, any of them. I don’t think he feels he has to read them, they just gotta be good, but I don’t agree with that, and the American people have voted on that: they’ve spoken. Donald Trump has won, and he is crystal clear on this issue — we’re not going to have any trade agreements unless it protects the American interest. i think thats exactly reasonable and right.
BARTIROMO: I think it’s really important to get you talking about this, Senator, first of all given all of the work you’ve done over the years on immigration, and secondly because Americans are afraid. The American people are not only afraid of — first they’ve got foreigners taking their jobs but now technology. You see companies going to robotics, so people really do need to understand the substance of your position, given the fact that all we see are headlines and Hillary Clinton is using these headlines — Donald Trump wants to ban Muslims, Donald Trump said this about various groups. You think he’s going to be able to make the case to the American people come November?
SESSIONS: Absolutely and we’re going to move forward with that. Tufts University just produced a report and said this trade agreement will reduce 450,000 jobs in America. That’s not benefiting America and there are other data that’s going to show how wrong they’ve been in previous predictions about previous trade agreements — the emperor has no clothes on these trade agreements. We’re going to be able to show that Donald Trump’s instincts and advocacy for decades, questioning these trade agreements, has been correct. It has hurt the American working person, and we’ve got to protect American interests and put America first.