President-elect Donald Trump has announced that he intends to nominate Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General. If confirmed, the conservative Senator from Alabama would serve as the country’s top law enforcement official. Senator Sessions is well known for being a hard-liner on immigration and while serving on the Senate Judiciary Committee, opposed meaningful immigration legislation, including a bill that provided a path to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally. He is also against legal immigration reform. Last year, Senator Sessions released a Memo entitled, “Immigration Handbook for the New Republican Majority” that lays out why immigration reform has worked against American citizens. The memo describes elite skilled immigrant workers in Silicon Valley as a “hoax” and speaks very critically of the H-1B and L-1 visa programs.
This announcement is a big blow to those hoping President-elect Trump’s hard-lined rhetoric during the campaign would not turn into actual policy. Beth Werlin, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council, released the following statement after the announcement about Senator Sessions broke: “Hope that President-Elect Trump would moderate his extreme views on immigration took a major hit with the announcement that he is nominating Senator Jeff Sessions to serve as Attorney General of the United States. Senator Sessions is the leading anti-immigration voice in the U.S. Senate. For years, Senator Sessions has urged severe restrictions on visas, called for drastically expanded immigration enforcement, and blocked all practical reforms to our outdated immigration system. As the country’s top lawyer and highest-ranking law enforcement official tasked with administering justice, the Attorney General has substantial authority over our nation’s laws, including our immigration laws. . . ”
American companies that use the H-1B and L visas should be very concerned at this nomination. During the election, Trump clearly stated that he will target illegal immigration, and not skilled workers that are here legally. The nomination of Sen. Sessions signals that the election rhetoric was inaccurate. American businesses should be very concerned and raise their concerns with their representatives in Congress. We may have a broken immigration system, but we have a system that is limping along.