Sessions addresses immigration in talk

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 4, 2007

LINDEN &8212; Senator Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., spoke at a town hall meeting on Tuesday; one of his major topics for discussion was the recent immigration reform bill on which Congress could not come to an agreement.

Sessions said the decisive factor for whether or not to pass the bill involved budget and financial concerns.

According to Sessions, the bill would only reduce illegality at the border by 25 percent, which was a provision made in an immigration reform bill passed last year.

Email newsletter signup

Sessions also said that immigration is a nationwide issue that leads to the reduction of wages.

Sessions is not totally opposed to immigration legislation, however. He said that he would support a well-run guest worker program.

Don Overmyer of Linden has had personal experience with immigrant workers and asked the senator how the government could improve the current documentation system. According to Overmyer, in Linden they pay workers using a direct deposit system; therefore, if the worker is not able to open a bank account because they do not have proper documentation, they are not able to be paid.

Senator Sessions said that unfortunately, the government does not want to pursue a system like that nationwide.

In the most recent bill, however, there were details that Sessions felt had some merit, including validation of documentation set out by Senator Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.

Sessions said he is sure that there will be more immigration legislation to come up for approval in the future.

After his opening remarks, the public was encouraged to ask questions about their own concerns. Linden City Council member William Curry asked Senator Sessions about the current dropout rate in schools.

Sessions responded that on a foundational basis, the No Child Left Behind program has been very successful.

According Sessions, regardless of No Child Left Behind&8217;s shortcomings, there has been significant improvement in schools.

Sessions then mentioned other programs that have been developed under the No Child Left Behind legislation, such as the Alabama Reading Initiative. Sessions said that the program has been such a success other states such as Florida and Massachusetts have used it for a model for their own initiatives.

Another question posed by those in attendance came from Lee Belcher of Demopolis, representing the VFW Post 5377. Belcher asked the senator about how to expedite the process for getting disability to wounded veterans.

Senator Sessions said, &8220;That is unfortunately not going as well as I would hope.&8221;

In other comments, Sessions said that the state of Alabama is doing very well.