Friday, November 9, 2018
Ousted after less than two years as Attorney General, Jeff Sessions proved himself one of the most effective Cabinet members in advancing the Trump administration’s agenda, pushing through wide-reaching changes to the U.S. immigration system that will endure long after this presidency.
In a new article for the Migration Policy Institute’s online journal, the Migration Information Source, MPI Policy Analyst Sarah Pierce examines the Sessions record on immigration, including a major asylum reform unveiled yesterday that will significantly narrow protections for asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Despite advancing zero-tolerance policies that sparked the separation of thousands of families, battling “sanctuary” jurisdictions, and spearheading his department’s legal defense of the travel ban and other actions, Sessions may have a more enduring legacy, Pierce writes.
In the article she explores how Sessions actively took advantage of a power less used by recent predecessors to reach into the immigration courts (which are an agency of the Justice Department) and refer cases to himself so he could set sweeping new administration policy, including sharply limiting the use of gang and domestic violence as grounds for asylum.
“Sessions’ enduring legacy will be transforming a quasi-judicial system designed to provide due process to foreign nationals facing deportation into an outright and powerful political tool,” Pierce writes.