During his long fight against a path to legal status for people in the U.S. illegally, Sen. Jeff Sessions, poised to become attorney general, has leaned on allies in the immigration restriction movement. But the ideological foundation of these groups, dating from a different political era, was more about limiting population than securing the border.
Today, most environmentalists and anti-immigration activists line up on opposite political teams, but in the 1970s, controlling population was a key tenet of the environmental movement. When birthrates in the U.S. began falling, the groups focused on immigration. Eventually, mainstream environmentalists dropped their advocacy for limiting population growth.
But groups including NumbersUSA, the Foundation for American Immigration Reform and the Center for Immigration Studies, still push for lower immigration levels, and Sessions has worked closely with them to stop legislation advancing a path to citizenship.
Sen. Jeff Sessions testified before Congress on Tuesday that he believes the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, should continue to detain alleged terrorists.
"It's designed for that purpose," Sessions told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee weighing his bid to be the next attorney general. "It fits that purpose marvelously well. It's a safe place to keep prisoners. We've invested a lot of money" in it.
President Obama was unable to fulfill his pledge to close the prison, which since it began accepting detainees in 2002 has held a total of nearly 800 prisoners. The George W. Bush and Obama administrations have transferred the vast majority of those prisoners to other countries.
At the Republican National Convention last July, retired Gen. Michael Flynn famously led Donald Trump’s supporters in angry chants of “Lock her up!” to demand prosecution of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Flynn has suggested Americans should fear all Muslims and argued that terrorism committed by Muslims is rooted in mainstream Islam. “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL,” he tweeted last February.
In a confirmation hearing repeatedly interrupted by protesters, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions became President-elect Donald Trump's first Cabinet pick to answer senators vetting his political record. Jan. 10, 2017.
If confirmed as attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions said he would have "no objection" to the president rescinding a program that deferred deportation for hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.
"It is very questionable constitutionally," Sessions testified at his Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
President Obama in 2012 created a program that has given temporary work permits to so-called Dreamers — those given protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. There are about 742,000 in the program.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, President-elect Donald Trump's pick to be the next attorney general, forcefully rebutted allegations that he once had harbored sympathies for racist groups and had condemned civil rights advocates.
"These are damnably false charges," Sessions said, straying from his prepared statement at his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing.
He later added, "I did not harbor the race-based animosities I am accused of. I did not."