Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse – Illegal immigrants and the census

  Conservative Republicans like Jeff Sessions have been obsessed with illegal immigrants for years. Sessions is - and has always been - a stickler for obeying the laws of our land. He is the most honest, upright, squeaky clean politician I have ever seen in my lifetime of observing politics in Alabama. He is like Dudley Do Right, only shorter and straighter. He was an Eagle Scout, and you can tell he was not making that up on his resume. He epitomizes a grown-up Eagle Scout. He has never outgrown the straight and narrow path. During his 20-year tenure in the U.S. Senate as our junior senator, he was the ultimate ideologue and one of, if not the most, conservative members of the U.S. Senate. He did not just give lip service to his reactionary positions. He put leg service into every right-wing cause and issue.

  He was the Attorney General of Alabama before his election to the U.S. Senate. Prior to that, he was the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama in Mobile. Being a prosecutor has always been his passion. Therefore, when Donald Trump offered him the U.S. Attorney General post, that is why he took it. 

  Most U.S. Senators would have balked at abandoning a safe Senate seat they could stay in for life. Our senior U.S. Senator, Richard Shelby, would have laughed in Trump’s face if he had offered him a Cabinet position. Shelby would have told him, “Thanks, but no thanks.” If Trump had offered him his job as president, Shelby would have considered it a demotion. Probably the only reason that Jeff Sessions has not be fired by the irrational Trump is that he knows Shelby, Mitch McConnell, and the rest of the Republican Senate leadership would automatically dissolve any power that Trump has as president. He would be rendered irrelevant when it comes to how federal dollars are appropriated. For you see, chairmanship of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee trumps the President every day of the week. There is an old adage that those that have the gold make the rules. Trump understands that rule.

  Having said all that, Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump are right. We have immigration laws in this country, the same way that we have bank robbery and mail fraud laws. Without these laws and the upholding of and adherence to these laws, we would have complete anarchy in the United States. It is not right or lawful that Mexicans enter the country illegally while other people from Brazil, China or Europe are properly applying for citizenship. The law should be upheld.

  States like California have been gleefully welcoming illegal immigrants for decades. It has basically ruined the once Golden State. They are now so deep in debt from giving free health care and school systems to illegals that they will never recover. 

  My interest has been here at home in Alabama. It was not our problem. However, folks, it now is our problem because California may steal one of our seven congressional districts by counting illegal, undocumented Mexicans in the 2020 census. Alabama is now at risk of losing a seat in the U.S. House and concurrently an electoral vote in the presidential elections because we have experienced slower growth than other states. And this is worsened by those who count people who are here illegally. Conservative states like Alabama have filed suit in federal court to stop the count of illegals. 

  The census count is immensely important. It determines the number of seats that each state has in Washington, which also determines the number of electoral votes which ultimately decides the presidency. California wants to use these illegal residents to steal congressional representation from conservative states like us and even states like Ohio who have not harbored hordes of illegal immigrants. 

  This court battle will boil down to a simple question: Who should be counted? The biggest census battle to determine the answer to this question was started by the Trump administration and implemented by Attorney General Sessions. It is a mandate that the census questionnaire will ask: Are you a citizen?

  Folks, we have a lot at stake. To lose a congressman to a state like California due to the counting of illegal aliens could mean not only less representation but also billions of dollars fewer in federal grants for Medicaid, Medicare, housing assistance, and transportation.

  You may have been ambivalent about illegal immigration, but it affects you, and it could affect you very adversely if you reside in Alabama.

  About the author: Steve Flowers is Alabama’s leading political columnist. His weekly column appears in over 60 Alabama newspapers. He served 16 years in the state legislature. Steve may be reached at He can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

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