Jeff Sessions Calls Immigration Restrictions ‘Good for America’—Though He Was Talking About Italians and Jews at the Time

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Trump had Attorney General Jeff Sessions announce the termination of the DACA program and the resumption in six months of deportations of undocumented individuals with clean records who have lived in the United States since they were children. As Slate notes, Sessions tried to frame the decision as one motivated by constitutional principles rather than racial or ethnic animosity:

The nation must set and enforce a limit on how many immigrants we admit each year and that means all can not be accepted. This does not mean they are bad people or that our nation disrespects or demeans them in any way. It means we are properly enforcing our laws as Congress has passed them.

Trump and Sessions have a history with the white nationalist movement, which suggests that the reliance on constitutional principles is a lie. Even more damning are Sessions’ remarks in a 2015 radio interview with Steve Bannon:

In seven years we’ll have the highest percentage of Americans, non-native born, since the founding of the Republic. Some people think we’ve always had these numbers, and it’s not so, it’s very unusual, it’s a radical change. When the numbers reached about this high in 1924, the president and Congress [passed the 1924 Immigration Act], and it slowed down immigration significantly, we then assimilated through the 1965 [Immigration Act] and created really the solid middle class of America, with assimilated immigrants, and it was good for America. We passed a law that went far beyond what anybody realized in 1965, and we’re on a path to surge far past what the situation was in 1924.

Here’s the problem: the Immigration Act of 1924 is one of the most infamously racist laws in American history—it was passed by advocates of Nazi-style eugenics in order to cut down on the number of Jews, Italians, and other allegedly inferior groups who were allowed into the United States. In fact, a Congress-appointed eugenecist named Harry Laughlin helped write the law:

Using data for the US Census Bureau and a survey of the number of foreign-born persons in jails, prisons and reformatories, he argued that the “American” gene pool was being polluted by a rising tide of intellectually and morally defective immigrants—primarily from eastern and southern Europe….His research culminated in his 1924 testimony to Congress in support of a eugenically-crafted immigration restriction bill. The Eugenics Research Association displayed a chart beneath the Rotunda of the Capitol building in Washington showing the cost to taxpayers of supporting Laughlin’s “social inadequates.”

The resulting law, the Immigration Restriction Act of 1924, was designed consciously to halt the immigration of supposedly “dysgenic” Italians and eastern European Jews.

This is what our attorney general thinks was so “Good for America!”

What do you think?

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