If Sen. Jeff Sessions is confirmed as the next attorney general, he will have extensive power to crack down on illegal immigration, say those involved on both sides of the issue, The Washington Times reported.
Although the Alabama senator's term as attorney general would mark a complete turnaround from the Obama administration on a wide range of topics, perhaps nowhere would that be more pronounced than on the issue of illegal immigration.
Sessions, nominated last week by President-elect Donald Trump as the nation’s top law enforcement official, has been one of the Senate’s leading proponents on cracking down on those entering the U.S. illegally, KGW.com in Portland reports.
From the Senate floor, Sessions has lashed out at sanctuary cities.
"Why should we be funding, providing federal law enforcement to cities that won’t even cooperate with the federal government in its most basic responsibilities?"
As attorney general, he would be able to carry out his belief that these sanctuary cities should be denied federal funding unless they agree to work together with the immigration agents to locate illegals.
His supporters are heartened by the prospect, with Rosemary Jenks of NumbersUSA, a lobby group which advocates stricter immigration laws, telling the Times that "The sanctuary cities thing is huge. I think most jurisdictions are going to fold like a cheap suit."
But some sanctuary cities have already vowed to resist any pressure and redouble their efforts to protect undocumented migrants.
"There's enough fear in this country right now and he was the last person I wanted to see nominated to be attorney general of this nation," Rev. Mark Knutson, one of the leaders of the sanctuary movement in Portland, told KGW.com. "Cities that have sanctuaries are cities that really care for people there and are working go deeper in that care."
Although senators usually have an easier time obtaining quick approval, Democrats in the upper chamber are already promising a difficult confirmation process due to Sessions' staunch conservative positions. Sessions' nomination as a federal district judge was blocked in the 1980s after he was accused of having racist views.
In addition to overseeing law enforcement, the attorney general is also the main decision-maker for the administration's legal strategy. As such, Sessions could choose to fight those federal judges who continue expanding the rights of illegal immigrants by appealing those cases in which the Obama administration did not do so.
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