3 years ago

After conquering ‘Masters of the Universe,’ Sessions weighs future of Homeland Security

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) at the Republican National Convention (Photo: Matt Rourke)
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) at the Republican National Convention (Photo: Matt Rourke)

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) bounced between interviews Wednesday afternoon, fresh off of his star turn on the big stage the night before when the Republican National Convention’s theme was “Make America Safe Again.”

No subject could have been more fitting for Alabama’s junior senator, who has spent much of the last decade sounding the alarm that “open borders” could leave the United States vulnerable to attack — from both terrorists and illegal immigrants.

Many would argue he has been proven right.

In one particularly heart-wrenching example, 32-year-old Kate Steinle was murdered on a pier in San Francisco by an illegal alien who had been convicted of seven felonies but was continuously released back onto the streets.

Sessions invited her father to testify before a U.S. Senate committee last year while the body was considering a bill to crack down on “sanctuary cities.”

“We were walking arm-in-arm on Pier 14 in San Francisco enjoying a wonderful day together,” Mr. Steinle testified. “Suddenly a shot rang out, Kate fell, and looked at me and said ‘Help me, Dad.’ Those are the last words I will ever hear from my daughter.”

It is the Steinles and countless other families around the country who have been negatively impacted by U.S. immigration and border policies for whom Sessions sees himself fighting.

Who he’s fighting against is often a little more abstract. Although they sometimes have names — Obama and Clinton or Zuckerberg and Gates — they are usually referred to more broadly as simply the “Masters of the Universe.”

As a constant reminder of this, above Sessions’ desk in his Capitol Hill office hangs a drawing of He-Man and Battle Cat from the 1980s comic book series and cartoon of the same name.

“(O)ur greatest ‘Masters of the Universe,’ as I like to refer to them, have joined… (together) to share their wisdom from on high and to tell us in Congress how to do our business,” Sessions declared on the Senate floor in 2014 in the midst of a tense fight over so called comprehensive immigration reform. “Sheldon Adelson… Warren Buffett… and Bill Gates… all super billionaires, aren’t happy, apparently. They don’t have much respect for Congress, and by indirection the people who elect people to Congress… Those three billionaires have three votes. The individual who works stocking the shelves at the grocery store, the barber, the doctor, the lawyer, the cleaners operator, and the person who picks up our garbage are every bit as valuable as they are. So I know who I represent. I represent citizens of the United States of America.”

But while Sessions’ clashes with immigration advocates have become high profile affairs in recent years–and foreshadowed the Trump phenomenon–that has not always been the case. In 2007, with a Republican president pushing immigration reform along with members of his own party in both houses, Sessions made a sometimes lonely stand.

He won.

And to this day, just below the “Masters of the Universe” drawing hangs an excerpt from the remarks Sessions delivered on the Senate floor just before the vote that sent the bill going down in flames.

“No one small group of people have a right to meet in secret with special-interest groups and write an immigration bill and ram it down the throat of this Senate,” he said. “I oppose it. It is not right.”

But in spite of the legislative victories, President Obama has used–and Sessions would argue abused–his executive power to grant de facto amnesty to wide swaths of illegal immigrants. This has led many Trump supporters to fantasize about what it might look like for Sessions to transition out of his role as the Senate’s conservative elder statesman and into a Trump Cabinet post atop the Department of Homeland Security.

If the billionaire businessman makes it to the Oval Office, it very well could go from fantasy to reality, although the always humble Sessions dismisses such ideas offhand.

That does not mean, however, that he has not thought at great length about what needs to change inside the third largest Cabinet department (trailing only the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs).

“A lot of things need to be done immediately,” Sessions told Yellowhammer at the Republican National Convention. “Sadly, the Department is one of the largest in the federal government, but they have the lowest morale of all the major agencies, and have for several years.”

The head of the border patrol agents union has said that current DHS leadership is “punishing law enforcement officers who are just trying to uphold U.S. law,” and is “willing to take away their retirement, their job, their ability to support their families in favor of someone who is here illegally and violating our laws…either taking a disciplinary action [or] threat[ening] disciplinary action.”

The vice president of the National Border Patrol Council testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that, “(Border Patrol) agents who repeatedly report groups (of illegal aliens) larger than 20 face retribution. Management will either take them out of the field and assign them to processing detainees at the station or assign them to a fixed position in low volume areas as punishment. Needless to say agents got the message and now stay below this 20 person threshold no matter the actual size of the group.”

As a result, in addition to the victims mentioned above, Sessions has also become a champion of immigration and customs agents.

“The agents in that organization sued their supervisors and the Secretary of Homeland Security basically saying, ‘You’re ordering us to violate our oath and violate the law,'” Sessions explained. “I’ve never heard of that before — suing your boss for not letting you do your job! That’s the level of disfunction.

“So the first thing that needs to happen is that those officers need to be rallied, respected and empowered,” he continued. “Let’s put them to work. They’re ready. Let’s build a wall and the barriers we need, empower the officers, back them up with tough prosecutors, and deport the people who are caught here illegally.”

Sessions believes that such an approach would completely revolutionize Homeland Security and drastically change the way the U.S. is viewed by would-be illegal entrants.

“We would immediately send a message to the world that the border is no longer open,” he concluded. “I guarantee you we would see a major reduction in attempts to enter the country illegally, because right now many people are just coming because they believe–often rightly–that they’ll get away with it.”

Six months from today a new president will be sworn into office, and he or she will presumably bring an entirely new Cabinet with them. Whether Sessions ends up being offered such a post remains to be seen. But you can bet the “Masters of the Universe” will be holding their breath as the process unfolds.

RELATED:
1. Inside Trump’s VP search: Two Alabamians made the list, and one may be a surprise
2. Sessions at RNC: Hillary’s plan is ‘more govt., more taxes, more regs, more illegals, more debt’
3. Watch Alabama officially cast its votes for Trump as the ALGOP chair yells ‘War Eagle!’

7 mins ago

7 Things: Trump disappointed Sessions entered Senate race, protesters disrupt Veterans Day events, DACA showdown and more …

7. Obsession with Trump’s tax returns continues

  • District Court Judge Carl Nicholas has dismissed President Donald Trump’s lawsuit that was filed in an attempt to fight the TRUST Act that was signed this year by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).
  • The TRUST Act would allow Congress to access Trump’s New York tax returns, and while Trump’s lawsuit was dismissed, Nicholas did allow that Trump could try again in the future.

6. Taylor supports term limits

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  • Jessica Taylor, a candidate for the District 2 congressional seat, has signed the U.S. Term Limits Congressional Pledge, which means that if elected she would then vote for the U.S. Term Limits Amendment.
  • The amendment would limit Congress members to three terms and senators to two terms. Taylor outlined, “We will never drain the swamp if we keep sending the same old career politicians to D.C. election after election.”

5. Biden continues to lead the race

  • A new survey conducted by Quinnipiac University shows that former Vice President Joe Biden is leading the in the 2020 presidential race in New Hampshire while South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg has edged into third place.
  • The poll showed that Biden is only at 20% in the state, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is in second with 16%, Buttigieg is at 15% and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) came out in fourth with 14%.

4. Canadian cancel culture

  • In a nation with a prime minister who wore blackface, comments about immigrants showing gratitude to veterans have cost a renowned national figure his job as the face of hockey in the hockey-crazed nation.
  • His comments center around the Canadian tradition of wearing a poppy to show support for veterans and how he doesn’t see enough of them. He stated, “I live in Mississauga [Ontario]. Very few people wear the poppy. Downtown Toronto, forget it. Nobody wears the poppy. … Now you go to the small cities. You people … that come here, whatever it is — you love our way of life. You love our milk and honey. At least you can pay a couple bucks for a poppy or something like that. These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada. These guys paid the biggest price for that.”

3. DACA gets its day in court

  • The attempt by President Donald Trump to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program created by President Barack Obama via executive order, the same way it was created, will have its first argument at the Supreme Court.
  • The program allows 660,000 illegal immigrants to avoid deportation and get work permits, but the question seems to hinge on the idea one president can create a program out of thin air and a federal judge can stop another president from ending it.

2. Protesters arrested at Veterans Day parade

  • As President Trump was honoring veterans, protesters decided this would be a good time to blow whistles and yell about impeachment. Protesters even spelled out the words “impeach” and “convict” on buildings while some chanted, “Lock him up!”
  • During the Veterans Day parade held in downtown Huntsville, three people were arrested while protesting the shooting of Dana Sherrod Fletcher when they staged a “die-in” on Monroe Street during the parade where they laid down in the middle of the road. They were very quickly removed by officers and charged with disorderly conduct.

1. Trump disappointed Sessions entered Senate race

  • While U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) was attending the Alabama vs. LSU game with President Donald Trump, Trump “expressed his disappointment” with former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions entering the U.S. Senate race in Alabama.
  • Byrne didn’t specify what Trump said, but he did go on to say that he feels “extraordinarily encouraged” by the support he’s received since Sessions announced.

1 hour ago

Former Bama star Jalen Hurts befriends bullied boy — ‘It meant the world to me’

Former University of Alabama star quarterback Jalen Hurts continues to be an exemplary role model.

This past weekend, Hurts’ current team — the University of Oklahoma Sooners — hosted 12-year-old Rayden Overbay as their special guest.

Overbay, who has autism, Type 2 diabetes and is deaf in one ear, went viral recently — but not for a good reason. The boy made national headlines after being assaulted by bullies in two separate incidents, each recorded on video.

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Hurts heard about Overbay’s story, and the Heisman contender spent time with him after the Sooners’ game against Iowa State on Saturday in the locker room.

In a video posted by ESPN, Hurts can be seen signing a football for the boy before telling him that he and his teammates are behind him.

Hurts also told OU Daily how important the experience was to him.

The quarterback said Overbay inspires him.

“I mean honestly, Rayden is an inspiration to me,” Hurts said. “I told him he was a soldier for just how he handled himself. It meant the world to me honestly to meet him. That whole meeting was great for me, and he has a friend in me.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 hours ago

Siegelman: Expect a Roy Moore-Doug Jones rematch in 2020

Now that former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is officially a candidate for U.S. Senate, many political prognosticators say he is a lock to regain the Senate seat he held for two decades, which is currently occupied by Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook).

Not so fast, says former Democrat Gov. Don Siegelman.

During an appearance on WVNN’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” Siegelman predicted Sessions would fade and argued the race would be won by former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore. If that came to be, Moore would face Jones in a rematch of the 2017 special election.

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“There are multiple reasons,” Siegelman, author of the forthcoming book “A Theft of Power: Stealing Our Democracy,” said. “Frankly, I think Jeff is in trouble. He is being branded and has been branded by some Trump supporters as a traitor to Trump, someone who turned his back on Trump. Whether that’s just in Trump’s mind or in all of those voters’ minds, it doesn’t matter. I think it has hurt him. And as I mentioned on MSNBC, I have a book coming out this spring where I detail my crossroads – where Jeff Sessions and I have met over time when I was secretary of state, attorney general, and on. Those are not particularly flattering compliments – when he opposed the lawsuit against Big Tobacco. Whether that impacts a Republican primary or not, I don’t know.”

“I do know this: Most of Donald Trump’s voters were evangelical,” he continued. “And I do know the constitutional amendment that passed in 2018 requiring that the Ten Commandments be posted in every public place received over a million votes in Alabama. And I do know that Roy Moore is branded as the Ten Commandments judge. I think Roy Moore has a silent Christian vote that is huge. And I think they’re going to come out and vote for him. This is a guy that gave up his seat on the Supreme Court because of his belief in the Ten Commandments. And you know, say what you want about Roy Moore – I think he has got a strong base.”

Siegelman indicated that Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill could be a sleeper in the race but pointed to constitutional amendments that passed in 2018 on the general election ballot as a strong indicator for Moore.

“John and Coach Tuberville I think have a statewide name recognition,” Siegelman added. “I think John Merrill has an advantage over all of the candidates except for Sessions and Moore, in that he has a city-by-city, county-by-county political base, which Tuberville does not have. If Merrill finds a way to gain traction, he could move ahead of Tuberville and be ready to enter a Republican runoff should Sessions fail. Those are the kinds of political maneuvers that we will see happening over the next several months. I think right now, the way I see it, and because of the silent Christian majority in Alabama, and say silent – let me explain why: Because there are 399,000 additional Republican votes that came out and came out and largely to vote for the two constitutional amendments, against abortion and for the Ten Commandments. That is a sizeable chunk of voters, and I think those voters will largely go to Judge Moore. So I think he has a place in the runoff.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.

3 hours ago

Living Life On Purpose with Matt Wilson Episode 12: Interview with Chris and Sophie Corder

Many marriages go through difficult situations and end in disaster. Addiction, infidelity, anger and deception are just a few of the things that Chris and Sophie Corder walked through in theirs. However, through the grace of God, and His miraculous life-changing power, their marriage has been restored and strengthened. Now, they want to encourage other people through their triumph. They have turned pain into purpose and want to show how God can do anything if we will get out of the way and let Him.

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15 hours ago

Veteran helped by Alabama deputies could reconnect with son

JASPER, ALA. (AP) — A social media post about a veteran wearing an oxygen mask while walking down a road may help connect the man to his estranged son.

The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post that the Gulf War veteran attempted to walk about 100 miles (160 kilometers) from Walker County to Huntsville for an appointment Wednesday because his car wasn’t working.

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A Walker County deputy worked with other deputies to transport him to and from his appointment at the VA. News reports identify him as Gerald Baldwin.

The post has more than 150,000 shares. Baldwin’s son Lance in Pennsylvania saw the story and recognized his father. He told news outlets Sunday that the two hadn’t spoken in about five years. He now plans to reach out to his father.

(Associated Press, copyright 2019)

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Editor’s note — The aforementioned Facebook post is as follows: