There Is an Attorney General, Mr. President



President Trump’s administration has been a revolving door of high-profile advisors— and his Cabinet is no exception. In July 2017, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly resigned to become White House Chief of Staff. That September, Tom Price surrendered his position as Secretary of Health in Human Services after the scandalous fallout of taking taxpayer funded private charter flights. On separate occasions in March 2018, President Trump fired both Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Veteran Affairs Secretary David Shulkin on Twitter. But no one has been on the receiving end of the President’s (very vocal) disappointment quite like Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Interestingly, in February 2016, then-Senator Sessions was the first Senator to outright endorse then presidential candidate Donald Trump, saying memorably, “I told Donald Trump this isn’t a campaign, this is a movement.” Less than a year later, Jeff Sessions was being confirmed by the Senate as President Trump’s new Attorney General.

However, a few short months after that the relationship between the president and his attorney general quickly began to unravel after Sessions recused himself from any Justice Department investigations into Russian interference in the election. Since then, there have been numerous instances in which the president has publicly condemned Sessions in the media or on Twitter. Most recently, when asked about his attorney general in an interview, the president stated, “I don’t have an attorney general. It’s very sad.”

Despite the political drama clouding Sessions’ tenure at the helm of the Justice Department, he has worked diligently to implement the president’s immigration agenda – the very issue that propelled him to the White House.

The reality is that Jeff Sessions has remained the same, steadfast defender of the integrity of U.S. immigration laws he was during his tenure in the United States Senate and the president is lucky to have him in his cabinet. In fact, on President Trump’s campaign page, it is the attorney general who can claim at least some credit for the majority of check marks on a page titled, “Promises Kept.”

Under the leadership of Sessions, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has escalated its efforts to rein in dangerous sanctuary cities by suing jurisdictions over their sanctuary policies. The first lawsuit—which was filed against the state of California for multiple sanctuary laws—came shortly after Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s reckless decision to publicly tip illegal aliens to pending Immigration and Customs Enforcement actions. After filing suit, Sessions appeared before the California Peace Officers’ Association and chastised Schaaf, telling the audience, “So here’s my message to Mayor Schaaf: How dare you.  How dare you needlessly endanger the lives of law enforcement just to promote your radical open borders agenda.”

Additionally, the DOJ, under the leadership of Jeff Sessions, has taken great strides to streamline and revitalize the outdated immigration court system. First, Sessions introduced production quotas for immigration judges to reduce the current enormous immigration court backlog. Under this new system, to get a “satisfactory” rating on their performance evaluations, judges will be required to clear at least 700 cases a year and to have fewer than 15 percent of their decisions overturned on appeal. Similarly, Sessions has also streamlined the hiring process for immigration judges, leading to the largest new class of immigration judges since 2010. These changes are critical to maximizing efficiency and minimizing the whims of activist judges.

Most importantly, the DOJ, under the leadership of Jeff Sessions, has instructed federal prosecutors along the Southwest border to adopt a zero-tolerance policy for all offenses referred for prosecution under 8 U.S.C. § 1325(a), which prohibits both the attempted illegal entry and the illegal entry of an alien into the United States.

Previously, prosecutorial discretion, combined with over crowded court dockets, resulted in the large scale release of illegal aliens after apprehension, a practice known as “catch and release.” This policy, exacerbated by the Obama administration, has served as a pull factor for illegal aliens for years because the risk hardly compared to the reward. But today, there has been a notable decline in the number of illegal border crossings, because illegal aliens are receiving the message that, as Jeff Sessions said, “If you come here illegally, you will be prosecuted.”

Undoubtedly, in these highly polarizing times, there are many factors relevant in a performance review. But when it comes to implementing the immigration platform that the American people endorsed in 2016, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is certainly doing his job.

About Author

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Heather Ham-Warren joined FAIR’s Government Relations department in 2018. In her role, Heather advocates for FAIR’s interests before Congress, the Administration, and federal agencies. She also reviews and analyzes federal legislation and regulations, as well as conducts research on a wide variety of legal and immigration-related topics. Heather brings with her several years of political and legislative experience having worked for legislatures at the both the state and federal levels. She began her career in D.C. working on Capitol Hill—most recently serving as Legislative Director for a Florida Republican on the House Judiciary Committee. Heather holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Florida and a Juris Doctor from the Florida State University College of Law.

1 Comment

  1. avatar

    Overall, he is doing a fine job. Just imagine a Clinton-appointed attorney general. We dodged the end of this country as we have known it by a whisker. We would have continued the Obama policy of zero deportations from the interior which in essence is open borders. You have to wonder why more Republicans are not making more of an issue over DNC vice chairman Keith Ellison wearing a t-shirt saying Yo No Creo en Fronteras, which means I don’t believe in borders. What more do the Democrats have to do to convince you? That’s what it’s come down to. The Republicans may be full of it, but Democratic control means the transition of this country into just another failed third world nation.

    There is a study that just came out by three professors from Yale and MIT. They admit that they set out to prove that the number of illegals was only half of the 11 million figure so long and often cited. To their surprise they found the figure is likely over 20 million. Naturally the left is charging bias and racism. The propaganda is always that more Mexicans have returned home than crossed the border illegally. This bit of nonsense is based mostly on information from Mexico which has an interest in projecting a low number. It also takes no account of the people from other countries who overstay visas.

    This is why we cannot do a mass amnesty. All the promises for the “one time” 1986 amnesty claimed it would be a maximum of one and a half million. It turned out to be three million. It would not be much of a surprise if the figure now would be well over 20 million. The left has lied once too often to take their word.

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