Jun. 19, 2016 1:17pm Carly Hoilman
U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday to discuss Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s proposed policy on banning immigration from countries with a “proven history of terrorism.”
Speaking to CNN’s Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash, Sessions voiced his support for Trump’s plan, which the candidate proposed in the wake of the June 12 terrorist attack in Orlando.
Image via Twitter/”State of the Union”
“Does this mean that Mr. Trump is now in favor of a ban on all immigration from certain countries?” Bash asked.
“He simply said … that we should slow down. Let’s have a pause and begin to analyze where the threats are coming from,” Sessions said.
“What does that mean? Are you going to look specifically at certain countries?” Bash pressed. “Are you going to look at certain religions? How would that actually work in practical terms?”
Sessions noted that a very high percentage of terrorists hail from “Islamic countries,” and said that the first step would be to look at those countries.
When asked for examples of countries the proposed ban would likely target, Sessions listed Pakistan, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen.
“So you would consider, and Mr. Trump would consider, banning immigration temporarily, completely from those countries?” Bash asked.
“Not completely,” Sessions clarified, suggesting that there would be some exceptions for diplomats and business people. He said the ban would amount to “pausing the normal flow here until we get a good database that this administration has refused to give us, and protect the American people.”
“That’s not unreasonable,” the senator continued. “You don’t have the Constitutional right to come to America. We respect your religion in this country. We will defend your right to free exercise of religion. But a person with an ideology that goes beyond normal religion — that believes you can kill gays, and kills people who change their view about the religion they have — that is a dangerous thing, and we do not have to admit people like that.”
But Bash noted that the Orlando gunman and the San Bernadino terrorists were all American citizens. She asked how a ban on foreign immigration would help if this is the case.
“Well, their parents came here with an ideology, and it seemed to have an impact,” Sessions said. “For example, in Orlando, the parent was close to the Taliban, a radical element that we’re fighting right now in Afghanistan.”
He emphasized that the United States is under no obligation to admit those who pose a potentially greater threat to American citizens.
Sessions serves as the chairman of two Senate subcommittees: Immigration and the National Interest, and Strategic Forces.