US attorney general nominee William Barr showed his allegiance to president Donald Trump and his alignment with the commander in chief’s views on immigration during the second day of his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings.
In his answers to senators, he backed nearly all of Trump’s immigration talking points, including the president’s demand for funds for the border wall he wants to build between the US and Mexico. ”We need money right now including for barriers, slats, and walls,” he said.
Like Trump, Barr favors a tough, law-and-order approach on immigration. When Iowa Republican Joni Ernst said undocumented immigrants who commit crimes need to be brought to justice, he agreed, peppering his response with “the president is right.”
“One of our major problems is that the rules have to be changed,” he said, echoing Trump. “There are people abusing the asylum system, being coached…We need to change the laws and stop the abuse.”
He also called drug crime “a national security problem, not just a law enforcement problem,” and criticized sanctuary cities, jurisdictions that have chosen not to cooperate with the federal government on immigration beyond what the law calls. He said having sanctuary policies “is irresponsible because it attracts and hides illegal aliens.” However, he emphasized that his position is “not chasing families” but bringing criminals to justice.
Barr’s hardline position will come as no surprise to those who recall his tenure as AG under George HW Bush between 1991 and 1993. He sought to keep Haitian refugees out of the US, and led a crackdown against immigrants already in the country.
Today, Barr noted that “abuse” of the immigration system has only gotten worse since then, so you can expect that, if confirmed, he will be on board with Trump’s efforts to reduce immigration.