On Immigration, Will Tom Cotton Succeed Jeff Sessions As “America’s Senator”?


We at VDARE.com have long regarded Jeff Sessions [R-AL] as “America’s senator” because of his tireless work on behalf of our native-born citizenry, especially on immigration and international trade.  But what happens now that he’ll apparently be leaving the Senate to become Attorney General in the Trump administration?  Fortunately, there is an answer: Senator Tom Cotton [R-AR]

Cotton is a rara avis in Sodom-on-the-Potomac: He grew up on a farm in Arkansas and then—despite being the lowest of the low (i.e. a white male from Flyover Country)—was accepted at Harvard.  He graduated with a B.A. in just three years.

Cotton floated around a bit after that, then returned to Harvard for law school.  After using the latter degree for a few years, this Harvard B.A./J.D. enlisted in the U.S. Army, subsequently seeing combat in Iraq and later serving in Afghanistan.

During his Iraq assignment, an “extra-curricular” initiative by Cotton attracted wide notice, as Wikipedia describes it:

In June 2006, while stationed in Iraq, he gained international public attention after he emailed a letter to The New York Times, criticizing the paper’s publication of an article detailing a Bush administration secret program monitoring terrorists’ finances. The newspaper ignored his letter, but it was published in Power Line, a prominent conservative blog which had been copied on the email.  In the letter, Cotton called for the journalists responsible for the newspaper article to be imprisoned for espionage. He asserted that the newspaper had “gravely endangered the lives of my soldiers and all other soldiers and innocent Iraqis here.” The article was widely circulated online and reprinted in full in several newspapers. [Links in original]

That attention along with encouragement from the crew at Power Line presumably sparked Cotton’s successful 2012 campaign for the House of Representatives, where he served one term.  Then in November 2014, he defeated incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Pryor’s bid for a third term (memorable video campaign ad here). So Cotton’s been a senator—indeed, the youngest senator—since January 3, 2015.

Above, I called Cotton a “rare bird” because even in the clubby U.S. Senate—the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body®—he’s been no go-along-to-get-along cipher. Instead, he has exhibited both seriousness and spine in committee (two-minute video example here regarding the detainees infesting Guantanamo) and on the Senate floor (three-minute example, appropriately skewering Minority Leader Harry Reid [D-NV]).

For a lengthier look at Cotton in conversation, see his 40-minute 2015 interview with the Hoover Institution’s Peter Robinson.

More recently, here’s part of Senator Cotton’s interview on November 14, 2016 with Tucker Carlson of Fox News [transcription by PN, emphases in original]:

Carlson: [first quoting Speaker of the House Paul Ryan] “I want to put people’s minds at ease; there will be no deportation force.”  I wonder what percentage of Trump’s voters kind of want a deportation force.  Whose “minds” is [Ryan] talking about?

Cotton: Well, Donald Trump said last night on 60 Minutes that he’s going to focus on criminal aliens, and I think most Americans are shocked that our government isn’t already focusing on criminal aliens.  There may be two million, three million.  That number is unknown, but if you’re a criminal and you’re not entitled to be in this country by law, then of course you shouldn’t be here, you should be returned back to your country.…

Cotton: On immigration, Donald Trump ran not just on security and enforcement, which is important, but he also ran on reducing legal immigration, and we need to do that.  Because people who work on their feet, they work with their hands in this country, they haven’t seen a pay rise in a long time, and part of that is because legal immigration has been at such high levels that it’s driven down wages and it’s taken a lot of jobs.

That’s why Donald Trump ran pretty well with Hispanics compared to some past Republicans as well.  So I think that Donald Trump has got the right approach to immigration.  You heard that some on 60 Minutes last night, but that’s one reason why he appealed to so many working voters across the country.

Carlson: Legal immigration, that’s the real [unclear].

Cotton: Yeah, legal immigration, we have to address legal immigration in addition to illegal immigration.

And there are other reasons to be hopeful that Cotton will be able and willing to step up once Sessions has left the Senate.  On September 26, 2016, he and Congressman Mike Pompeo [R-KS] published an article in the Wall Street Journal with the highly promising title, What We Learned in Scandinavia About Migrants: Sweden failed. Norway succeeded—in part because it did what Trump does: Listen.  [If the provided link yields a behind-the-paywall message, try Googling on the phrase “what we learned in Scandinavia about migrants.”]

(Pompeo is now Trump’s nominee for CIA Director—and, like Cotton, is an alum of both Harvard and the Army.)

Their article doesn’t disappoint.  Although you should read—and celebrate!—the whole thing, here are excerpts covering a couple of its main themes:

Norway … established measures to stop uncontrolled migration. It imposed new border controls featuring a border fence, increased waiting periods for residency and deportation of ineligible migrants. It also reduced migrant benefits to match those offered by its neighbors. Norway even advertised in foreign nations, warning that migrants who do not face war or persecution will be deported.

The result: Asylum applications in Norway fell 95% between the last quarter of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016.

Norway is far from hardhearted. It has welcomed refugees for decades and its foreign policy prioritizes conflict resolution and humanitarian relief. But Norwegians understand that an Open-Border policy would strain their resources, disrupt the integration of other recently arrived immigrants, and undercut the legitimate desire of Norwegians to preserve their nation’s culture and character.[Links added.]

So we have two up-and-coming Republican officeholders extolling the idea of preserving a “nation’s culture and character.”  Pinch me!

Cotton and Pompeo go on:

Sweden threw open its doors in 2013, offering Syrian refugees permanent residency. Asylum applications from across the world—not just Syria—spiked. Sweden has since received more than 280,000 migrants, and counting. … These migrants are disproportionately poor, young, male, undereducated, conservatively Muslim and possess virtually no Swedish-language skills.

This radical policy occurred with little debate because political correctness pervades Sweden. They even have a term for the phenomenon: åsiktskorridor, or “the opinion corridor.” Any questions about the economic, fiscal and cultural impact of an immediate influx of migrants clearly lay outside the corridor; asking them could result in accusations of xenophobia or racism.

But these questions are real and they reflect legitimate concerns for the Swedish people. …

Faced with growing public dissatisfaction, the Swedish government finally relented and imposed border controls and other restrictions this summer. But not before committing more than 7% of its 2016 budget to migrant services, with costs set to steadily increase. …

Sweden’s failures have been repeated in Germany, France, Austria and elsewhere. Immigration was the key issue driving British votes to leave the European Union.

The parallels to the U.S. immigration debate are clear. For years, a bipartisan elite consensus has favored the mass immigration of unskilled and low-skilled workers into America coupled with the legalization of millions of illegal immigrants already here. Only one thing has stopped these elites from their desired immigration policy: Two-thirds to three-quarters of Americans consistently oppose any increase in immigration.

Immigration is the central issue of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. [Emphasis added!] He saw legitimate concerns about stagnant wages, low workforce-participation rates and lower levels of immigrant assimilation. He also understood that our own “opinion corridor” of political correctness largely ruled these topics out of bounds. When conventional leaders would not address their concerns, it’s not surprising that Americans turned to a new voice.

“Immigration is the central issue …”  Wow, pinch me again!

And with four successive tweets Cotton sent on November 25, he reinforced the impression that he’s fit—and maybe even eager—to assume from Sessions the mantle of “America’s senator.”  Here they are:

  • There are no “jobs Americans won’t do”! Americans are majority in every job & sector. Want more? Pay more! 2/
  • Employers in this story are paying more, offering more benefits & training. This is a good thing, not a problem! 3/
  • Build wall, enforce law, limit legal immigration = safer streets, higher wages, better govt. Let’s get started! 4/4

Significantly, Senator Cotton dispatched these tweets in response to a typical Wall Street Journal article bleating about the reflexively-invoked “labor shortage” (Small Businesses Lament There Are Too Few Mexicans in U.S., Not Too Many, by Miriam Jordan and Santiago Perez, November 25, 2016 [updated on November 28, and if the provided link doesn’t work for you, trying googling on the phrase “small businesses lament”]).

Cotton’s career immigration-sanity grade (counting both House and Senate service) at NumbersUSA is “A−.”

However, he’s rated only “C+” in the critical category of “Challenge Status Quo,” which has to do with taking useful initiative on the subject, as distinguished from merely making useful votes on immigration-sanity bills while otherwise ignoring the subject.  But I’ll guess that when NumbersUSA goes through its next grading cycle, Cotton’s “Challenge Status Quo” rating will soar to reflect his recent full arrival in this arena.

(Congressman Pompeo’s career grade with NumbersUSA is “A,” and he has a “B” in “Challenge Status Quo.”  It would be excellent to have the CIA’s Director be someone who’s deeply knowledgeable about immigration, instead of being just another officeholder who’ll annoyingly lecture us, when provoked from slumber, that “America is a nation of immigrants.”)

So, VDARE.com regulars, please consider piling on the compliments to reinforce Senator Cotton’s highly encouraging behavior!  I did this soon after his appearance with Tucker Carlson by phoning Cotton’s Washington, DC office [202-224-2353] and emphasizing to the message-taker the importance of the senator’s strong statement about reducing legal immigration.

If you’re new at making such calls, you might want to first listen to the recording (MP3 clip, below) of my end [only] of that call as an example; it’s about 70 seconds long.

It’s important that Cotton hear this encouragement from all over the country. It might well finally convince him he needs to become “America’s senator.”

It’s also critical that he receive massive approval from his fellow patriotic Arkansans.  They, too, might phone the DC office.  But if they’d like to engage in a lengthier, lower-pressure exchange with a staffer, it’ll generally be better to phone one of Senator Cotton’s district offices.  These are in Little Rock (501-223-9081), Springdale (479-751-0879), El Dorado (870-864-8582), and Jonesboro (870-933-6223).

Whether you’re in Arkansas or abroad in America, go to it, immigration patriots!

Paul Nachman [email him] is a retired physicist and immigration sanity activist in Bozeman, MT