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Amnesty’s Worst Enemy

by Eliana Johnson

How Senator Jeff Sessions helped stop comprehensive immigration reform

A Masters of the Universe drawing hangs in a frame above the desk in the Capitol Hill office of Alabama senator Jeff Sessions. It stands out among dozens of pictures of his three children and seven grandchildren. The protagonist of the comic-book series, He-Man, is depicted mounted atop his heroic lion, Battle Cat. His muscles are bulging; his sword is thrust into the air. Battle Cat’s mouth is open, his fangs exposed. They are a formidable pair.

A small gold plaque sits below the drawing in the same frame. Etched on it are a portion of the remarks Sessions delivered on the Senate floor in June 2007, two days before the comprehensive immigration-reform bill championed by President George W. Bush and several prominent Republicans was defeated in the Senate. Sessions led the opposition to that bill, and his efforts were among the reasons for its unexpected collapse. “No one small group of people have a right to meet in secret with special-interest groups and write an immigration bill and ram it down the throat of this Senate,” he told his colleagues. “I oppose it. It is not right.”

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