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Does the Media’s Hatred of Trump Trump Its Devotion to Mass Immigration?

President Donald Trump answers a question from CNN’s chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta during the coronavirus response daily briefing at the White House, April 10, 2020. (Jim Acosta/Reuters)

Years ago I wrote a piece in these pages about how mass immigration was an immutable value of the Left. (I wanted to call it “Immigration Uber Alles,” but Kathryn demurred.) The point was that when any other issue or constituency favored by the Left came into conflict with mass immigration, immigration always won out.

A new statement from Jeff Sessions puts this hypothesis to a test.

Sessions will face off July 14 against former football coach Tommy Tuberville for the Republican nomination to challenge incumbent Democratic senator Doug Jones. President Trump has opposed Sessions and endorsed Tuberville in the ugly and graceless fashion that is his hallmark. But the delay in the runoff caused by the Wuhan coronavirus — and the issues raised by the virus — have shifted the momentum to Sessions. (The candidates are neck-and-neck in fundraising, and Sessions has more money in the bank.)

One of those issues is the continued importation of foreign workers, and the accommodation of “temporary” foreign workers already here, at a time when 22 million people have filed for unemployment in the past four weeks.

In response, Sessions today released a statement calling for “a moratorium on employment-based immigration until the U.S. unemployment rate goes back down below 3.5%, where it was in February.”

This presents something of a problem for Tuberville, a go-along-to-get-along, Chamber of Commerce Republican who’s happy to talk about the border wall but favors increased immigration and a guestworker amnesty for illegal aliens (and also doesn’t think we should focus too much on ChiCom perfidy regarding the current pandemic). Tuberville will probably just keep hiding, in the hopes that Trump’s endorsement will be enough to pull him over the finish line, so he can join the like-minded Lindsey Graham and Tom Tillis in the Senate.

But this presents a golden opportunity for the White House press corps to try to embarrass the president, which is the raison d’etre of much of the elite media, and to separate him from his supporters. Jim Acosta, for instance, could ask something along the lines of:

Mr. President, Jeff Sessions, whom you have opposed, has called for a moratorium on all employment-based immigration until the jobless rate returns to its pre-virus levels. Do you support his call for a moratorium, or do you support the continued arrival of foreign workers while 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment?

The president would either have to oppose Sessions’s proposal and support the importation of foreign labor at a time of Great Depression-level unemployment, or support it, prompting an alert reporter to follow up by asking, “Then why haven’t you stopped it, using the statutory authority recently upheld by the Supreme Court in the travel ban case?”

Trump might well be able to shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose his voters, but mouthing swamp platitudes about “jobs Americans won’t do” in the current environment might be a bridge too far.

But I don’t expect this to happen. The Left, including its news organs, hates the president, it’s true. But highlighting Sessions’s call for a moratorium on new foreign labor would not only publicize immigration skepticism, but also “normalize” it as an acceptable part of public discourse. And that cannot be allowed.

The smart money is always on elite support for mass immigration. Not even hatred of Trump can trump it.

Mark Krikorian, a nationally recognized expert on immigration issues, has served as Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) since 1995.

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