Sessions: 'It Would Certainly Be Constitutional, I Believe,' to End Obama's Executive Actions on Immigration

By Susan Jones | January 10, 2017 | 12:13pm EST
"Dreamers" protest in Phoenix, Arizona (AP File Photo)

( - Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said he believes President Obama's executive actions on immigration are unconstitutional "for a number of reasons."

He told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that "we've been placed in a bad situation" when it comes to illegal immigration; he said he would not object to ending Obama's executive actions, and he urged his colleagues to "fix this system."

Asked if he would advise President Trump to repeal Obama's executive actions on immigration, Sessions said, "That will be a decision that needs to be studied, and that he would need to agree to. But it's an executive order, really a memorandum of the Department of Homeland Security.

It would certainly be constitutional, I believe, to end that order, and if I were at the Department of Justice, I think I'd have no objection to a decision to abandon that order, because it is very questionable, in my opinion, constitutionally."

"What do we do with the 800,000 who have come out of the shadows?" Sen. Lindsey Graham asked Sessions, referring to the thousands of illegal immigrants who have signed up for Obama's deferred deportation and temporary amnesty.

"Sen. Graham, fundamentally, we need to fix this immigration system. Colleagues, it's not been working right," Sessions responded. "We've entered more and more -- millions of people -- illegally into the country. Each one of them produces some sort of humanitarian concern, but it is particularly true for children. So we've been placed in a bad situation.

"I really would urge us all to work together -- I would try to be supportive of ending the illegality and put us in a position where we could wrestle with how to handle these difficult compassionate decisions.

Sessions agreed that the best way to solve the problem is for the Congress to pass an immigration law.

Later, in response to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sessions said the U.S. is not able "financially or any other way able to seek out and remove everybody that's in the country illegally." He agreed that criminal aliens are a priority for deportation.

"So I would think the best thing for us to do...let's fix this system, and then we can work together, after this lawlessness has been ended, then we can ask the American people and enter into a dialogue about how to compassionately treat people who've been here a long time."

Durbin was not satisfied with the answer.

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