Sessions: 'We've Got to Ask Ourselves Who It Is This Government Is Representing'

By Susan Jones | January 29, 2015 | 7:35am EST

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  (AP File Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

( - At her confirmation hearing on Wednesday, Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch "openly advocated for the providing of scarce jobs in America to those who are here illegally," said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.).

Speaking to Fox News's Megyn Kelly Wednesday night, Sessions said there aren't enough jobs for American citizens: "We've got to ask ourselves who it is this government is representing. Are we representing the interests of Americans who are hurting today...who are having a difficult time of having jobs whose wages are down?

"And I think that this administration and (Lynch's) statement really opened up and showed what they really believe about this. They're as committed to finding jobs for illegal people in our country today as they are people who are here lawfully."

Sessions says he will vote against Lynch's confirmation, based on what she told him at Wednesday's hearing.

The senator asked Lynch, "Who has more right to a job in this country? A lawful immigrant who's here, a green-card holder or a citizen, or a person who entered the country unlawfully?"

"Well, Senator," Lynch responded, "I believe that the right and the obligation to work is one that's shared by everyone in this country regardless of how they came here. And certainly, if someone here, regardless of status, I would prefer that they be participating in the workplace than not participating in the workplace."

"[W] ho has the most rights?" Sessions asked Lynch. "Does a lawful American immigrant or citizen have the right to have the laws of the United States enforced so that they might be able to work, or does a person who came here unlawfully have a right to demand a job?"

"Certainly, the benefits of citizenship confer greater rights on those of who are citizens than those -- than those who are not," Lynch said.

Sessions reminded her that it against the law for employees to hire illegal aliens, and Lynch called that "provision" "an important one."  

"Again, we want everyone to seek employment, but we have in place at this point in time a legal framework that requests or requires employers to both provide information about citizenship as well as not hire individuals without citizenship," she said.

Speaking to Fox News, Sessions said President Obama is going well beyond prosecutorial discretion by giving an estimate five million illegal immigrants work authorization as well as Social Security and Medicare benefits.

He said he wasn't satisifed with Lynch's answer to his question about illegal aliens with work authorization cards: "What if somebody prefers hire an American citizen first? Would you take action against them?" Sessions asked Lynch at Wednesday's hearing. "Do you understand this to mean that those who are given executive amnesty are entitled as much as anybody else in America to compete for a job in America?

"Well, I don't believe that it would give anyone any greater access to the workforce, and certainly an employer would be looking at the issues of citizenship in making those determinations," Lynch replied.

"Would you take action against an employer who says, 'No, I prefer to hire someone that came to the country lawfully rather than someone given executive amnesty by the president'? Would Department of Justice take action against them?" Sessions asked.

"With respect to the -- the provision about temporary deferral, I did not read it as providing a legal amnesty," Lynch said. "With respect to whether or not those individuals would be able to seek redress for employment discrimination, if -- if that is the purpose of your question, again, I haven't studied that legal issue.

"I certainly think you raised an important point and would look forward to discussing it with you and using -- and relying upon your thoughts and experience as we consider that point."

"She didn't have a good answer for that," Sessions told Kelly. "So, I would just cite it fundamentally, she openly advocated for the providing of scarce jobs in America to those who are here illegally."

Lynch said she thinks illegal aliens "can rehabilitate themselves and apply" for citizenship -- "but that would have to be something that would be decided on a case-by-case basis."

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