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Sessions says immigration policy must favor the young

By Eric Fleischauer · 340-2435

The way to make sure immigration policy benefits national interests, said U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Mobile, is to admit immigrants based on a point system.

Give points for educational advancement, accumulated assets, fluency in English, and young age, said Sessions, and immigrants will benefit U.S. interests.

Charge admission

Charging admission for immigrants might also work, he said.

“At some point we need to decide what’s in the national interest,” Sessions said in an editorial board meeting at The Daily last week. “If you’ve got money to invest, you might get more points.”

Sessions said he has a soft spot for immigrants already in the United States with their families.

“What are you going to do about the 11 million here? I think we’ve got to be compassionate about the people that have been here a long period of time and have children,” Sessions said.

“But I think we should never again — 1986 (the year of President Reagan’s immigrant amnesty program) forward — never should you get every single benefit this country offers if you come here illegally. You don’t get everything.”

Not everything, Sessions said, but some things.

“You don’t get to be a citizen; you don’t get every social welfare benefit that we give,” Sessions continued. “Health care, OK. Your children go to school, OK. You can drive the highways, OK, if you’re legalized in some fashion.”

We need to prioritize immigrants by what they bring to the country, Sessions said.

“An Irishman with a master’s degree is second in line to an uneducated brother of somebody (from Mexico).

“Right now people who don’t have family connections — who are extraordinarily talented, who’ve studied English, who know advanced math and science — can’t get in. All because the chicken plant wants some people who work for $5 an hour.”

Immigrants who fail to meet standards designed to further U.S. interests become a drain on our economy, he said.

“An immigrant who comes here without a high school degree would take nearly $100,000 more out of the government than the he pays in,” Sessions said.

“There’s this myth that everybody’s going to come in and their grandson’s going to be the senator from Pennsylvania. But it’s not really so. People that came from developed nations like Japan tend to already have educations and are able more quickly to assimilate to the disciplines of United States. They do well.”

Sessions said any immigration policy should start with border control.

“We absolutely can secure the border,” Sessions said. “It’s not that hard. We’ll soon have twice as many border patrol agents. Fences are a very important part of it. If somebody’s going to be a temporary worker, the government needs to give them an ID with a fingerprint that can’t be easily forged. No business should hire a temporary worker that doesn’t have that card.”

Border blame

Sessions blamed U.S. business and agricultural interests, along with the Bush administration, for reluctance on securing the border with Mexico.

“They’re saying, ‘We can’t get enough good workers. These people (immigrants) will work and they’ll say “Yes sir” and “No sir.” We’ve got to have these workers.’ How many? What jobs? I think we haven’t thought that through.”

Sessions said more federal dollars should go to transforming American citizens into better workers, thus alleviating the economic need for immigrants.

“The kid down here that dropped out of high school, who doesn’t know who his daddy is,” Sessions said.

“He fiddled around and is not a very reliable worker, but if somebody took some time and invested some money and worked with him, didn’t fire him the first time he was late for work, paid him a little better money, he might turn out to be a pretty good worker. Those are the American citizens.”

Protect U.S. interests

America, Sessions said, needs to be more protective of its own interests.

“We need to look at what’s in our national interest,” he said. “We cannot serve the interest of every poor person in the world. The numbers are just too huge.”

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