Senator Sessions for Attorney General

It’s not often that I have much to say about these types of high-level government appointments. Typically, all I know is what I read in the papers. But this is one case where I do have some valuable private information.

I have met and “talked shop” with Senator Sessions a few times in the past. Those conversations always struck me as unusual. Unlike some other influential people in the immigration arena whom I have talked to, where I quickly began to suspect that their grasp of the nitty-gritty details was somewhat foggy, it was obvious that Senator Sessions was knowledgeable with and understood precisely what was going on in the immigration field.

Regardless of how one views his policy vision, there’s one thing we know for sure: The man at the helm of the Justice Department in the Trump administration, in charge of enforcing the immigration statutes, will be someone who has spent years studying the nooks and crannies of this obscure (and often incomprehensible) set of rules and regulations, who understands precisely how the immigration system is put together and is used (and misused) in the real world, and who strongly believes that the laws should be enforced. As I argued in an earlier blog post that provided some (unsolicited) advice to President-elect Trump, it seems to me that “enforcement first”–and specifically greatly slowing down the inflow of illegal immigrants–is a necessary first step if we are to have a sensible discussion about how to reform immigration policy. There isn’t a better qualified person in Washington to handle this job and to inform President-elect Trump about the various options.

On top of that, the senator is a very nice and approachable man, both in a professional and social setting. I always came away thinking that this must be what the “Southern gentleman” type is all about.

Author: George Borjas

I am a Professor of Economics and Social Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.