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  by  Roy Beck

Ever since Donald Trump nominated Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to be the next Attorney General, all of us immigration reductionists have been wondering who could pick up his baton and truly lead the Senate fight AGAINST immigration expansionism and FOR less immigration.

We may have found the answer this week in the New York Times.

An op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) eloquently made the case for immigration policy serving the interests of Americans who work hard and play by the rules, rather than helping the affluent live even more comfortable lives. And then Cotton wrote these magic words:


There have been lots of Senators who proclaim the need to get ILLEGAL immigration under control.

But few have clearly stated the need for LEGAL reductions, and certainly not the way Sen. Sessions has done in scores of speeches, media interviews, press releases, op-eds and position papers over the last decade.

Every other suggestion on changing immigration policy has far more meaning and far more promise for the average American when placed in the context that the overall immigration numbers have to be reduced.

Pew Research projects that current immigration laws are are set to add another 45 million immigrants with lifetime work permits by 2050.

Sen. Cotton has boldly laid down his marker in the New York Times that the 45 million number cannot be allowed to happen.

Sen. Cotton explained:

After all, the law of supply and demand is not magically suspended in the labor market. As immigrant labor has flooded the country, working-class wages have collapsed. Wages for Americans with only high school diplomas have declined by 2 percent since the late 1970s, and for those who didn't finish high school, they have declined by nearly 20 percent, according to Economic Policy Institute figures.

"No doubt automation and globalization have also affected wages, but mass immigration accelerates these trends with surplus labor, which of course decreases wages. Little wonder, then, that these Americans voted for the candidate who promised higher wages and less immigration instead of all the candidates -- Republicans and Democrats alike -- who promised essentially more of the same on immigration."

Read our Van Esser's news story with key excerpts from the Cotton op-ed.


There is little in Cotton's background to cast doubt on whether he has the courage to back his convictions.

An Arkansas farm boy who earned undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard, he soon left the comfort of a law firm to enlist in the U.S. Army in 2005. Instead of accepting a commission in the legal corps, he entered at the corporal rank and worked his way into a commission as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry.

Wikepedia states that in Iraq, "he led a 41-man air assault infantry plattoon in the 50th Infantry Regiment, and planned and performed daily combat patrols." He later served in Afghanistan during his five years of active duty.


In 2013, his very first year in the U.S. House of Representatives, Cotton went toe to toe with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). It was in a closed-door meeting of House Republicans to discuss what to do with the Gang of Eight amnesty and legal immigration doubling that the Senate had passed.

Ryan stood at one podium arguing for the Gang of Eight. At the other podium was Cotton, a freshman of only six months, arguing our side -- the people's side -- including what were described as "terse" exchanges with Speaker Boehner.

The majority of House Republicans sided with the young Cotton, who even today is only 39. The Gang of Eight giant immigration expansion was never brought up in the House of Representatives.

In 2014, Cotton defeated incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Pryor who had severely weakened his standing in the state by supporting the Gang of Eight after opposing amnesties in earlier years.

Now only a second-year Senator, Cotton's decision to put himself out front so publicly in the New York Times this week is an indication that he wants to be seen as somebody who will carry the populist immigration torch for Pres.-elect Trump -- as well as hold Sen. Sessions' baton -- in the Senate.

We will be watching closely for actions that prove that to be true. And wouldn't it be nice if several Senators had enough courage of these same convictions to want to compete for the torch and baton?

ROY BECK is Founder & President of NumbersUSA

Updated: Fri, Jan 13th 2017 @ 4:10pm EST

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