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Sessions 'irreplaceable' on immigration to base

When then-candidate Donald Trump touted Jeff Sessions' support on the 2016 campaign trail, he'd joke that ev...

Posted: Aug 29, 2018 1:46 AM
Updated: Aug 29, 2018 1:46 AM

When then-candidate Donald Trump touted Jeff Sessions' support on the 2016 campaign trail, he'd joke that even he was surprised he beat out other immigration hawks for the prized endorsement. It was an indication of how strongly Trump resonated with the base on immigration and border security -- and how strongly Sessions represented it.

Now, Sessions' supporters are hoping the President hasn't forgotten that lesson.

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Sessions' support among Republicans in the Senate is publicly weakening, as the President continues to tweet his frustration with his attorney general and early backer over his handling of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

But Sessions' supporters are saying one simple fact should keep the attorney general in office: There is no one else who could better execute Trump's own vision on immigration, and no one who bears more credit for what the President has achieved thus far.

Sessions "is almost irreplaceable because of his commitment and understanding of the core issue on which the President won his election," said Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which advocates for slashing immigration dramatically.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham this week argued Trump deserves to replace Sessions, saying the relationship is "beyond repair."

That sentiment is not shared, however, in Sessions' strongest base of support -- the groups that have long advocated for the immigration-restricting policies that the attorney general has aggressively pursued.

"Jeff Sessions has delivered exactly what Jeff Sessions said he would deliver during the years he served in the Senate," said Art Arthur, a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank that supports cutting immigration.

"He has been tremendously impactful on issues that are important to the President as it would relate to immigration," Arthur added. "He's been a loyal soldier to the President in office."

"It would be a serious political mistake for the President to fire Sessions now," echoed Jessica Vaughan, the director of policy studies at CIS. "It's lose-lose, because Democrats will say Trump is firing him to get a yes-man to obstruct whatever investigations they think are needed to topple the President, and conservatives, especially those who want immigration laws enforced, will be very upset to see Sessions go."

The Justice Department has limited authority over immigration, but Sessions has explored the boundaries of his power with expansive effect.

Sessions has reinterpreted asylum law in a way that's expected to dramatically lower the number of immigrants who qualify. He has taken a keen interest in the immigration courts under his purview, butting heads with the immigration judges' union over a number of changes and rulings Sessions has made with the stated objective of efficiency.

The attorney general also served as the face of the "zero-tolerance" border policy that resulted in thousands of family separations, announcing his department would prosecute all illegal border crossings in April. Sessions likewise was the face of the administration's decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy that protected young undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children, providing the legal justification for doing so.

Sessions has led the charge against so-called sanctuary cities, trying repeatedly to restrict funding to such jurisdictions. On the Trump re-election campaign website "Promises Kept," Sessions can claim credit for nearly half of the "achievements" listed under immigration.

Stein suggested that Graham had ulterior motives. The South Carolina Republican is considered likely to run the Senate Judiciary Committee next year, and has a much more moderate view on immigration than Sessions.

"Lindsey Graham's equivocations are more related to the latter's salivating over the possibility of him chairing the Senate Judiciary Committee and promoting another amnesty scam on the American people than anything Sessions has done wrong in office," Stein said. "Graham knows that it would be impossible to get administration support for anything Graham wants to do on immigration as long as Sessions is Attorney General."

Graham's office did not respond to a request for comment.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 309223

Reported Deaths: 7153
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21005250
Hinds19989411
Harrison17590303
Rankin13388277
Jackson13169243
Madison9965212
Lee9900170
Jones8319161
Forrest7554149
Lauderdale7232237
Lowndes6306144
Lamar614685
Lafayette6081118
Washington5296133
Bolivar4778130
Oktibbeha458097
Panola4461103
Pearl River4447142
Warren4310119
Marshall4302103
Pontotoc417672
Monroe4063132
Union405175
Neshoba4009176
Lincoln3892109
Hancock373785
Leflore3471124
Sunflower332090
Tate325984
Pike3226105
Scott311973
Yazoo305369
Alcorn301566
Itawamba297977
Copiah294365
Coahoma290779
Simpson290486
Tippah285368
Prentiss276659
Marion266479
Leake262473
Wayne261541
Grenada257385
Covington255380
Adams247082
Newton246161
George238947
Winston226181
Tishomingo222867
Jasper220248
Attala213673
Chickasaw205857
Holmes187272
Clay183354
Stone179733
Clarke178177
Tallahatchie176240
Calhoun165632
Yalobusha160236
Smith159734
Walthall131143
Greene129633
Lawrence126823
Noxubee126634
Montgomery125842
Perry125238
Amite121041
Carroll121026
Webster113932
Jefferson Davis105932
Tunica103425
Claiborne101430
Benton97525
Kemper95728
Humphreys94732
Franklin83123
Quitman78916
Choctaw74417
Wilkinson65329
Jefferson64928
Sharkey49817
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 522512

Reported Deaths: 10790
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson755371494
Mobile39129799
Madison34124500
Tuscaloosa25408444
Montgomery24059573
Shelby23225242
Baldwin20730302
Lee15638166
Calhoun14358311
Morgan14171273
Etowah13705348
Marshall12012220
Houston10416279
Elmore10024203
Limestone9862148
Cullman9509191
St. Clair9486236
Lauderdale9280233
DeKalb8762183
Talladega8127173
Walker7151276
Autauga6763106
Jackson6762110
Blount6532133
Colbert6236132
Coffee5436113
Dale4781111
Russell431239
Franklin421382
Chilton4130110
Covington4069115
Tallapoosa3922148
Escambia390374
Dallas3528150
Chambers3519122
Clarke347360
Marion3076100
Pike306676
Lawrence296395
Winston273272
Bibb256761
Marengo248561
Geneva246475
Pickens233259
Barbour227155
Hale218675
Butler213268
Fayette209660
Henry188444
Cherokee182744
Randolph177841
Monroe173140
Washington165538
Macon156548
Clay150255
Crenshaw149557
Cleburne147041
Lamar140034
Lowndes137353
Wilcox124727
Bullock122040
Conecuh109728
Perry107726
Sumter103332
Coosa99428
Greene91434
Choctaw58824
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