Jeff Sessions Urged Trump Admin To 'Immediately' Halt Immigration to U.S. Days Before the President Announced Executive Order

President Donald Trump's former Attorney General Jeff Sessions appeared to take some credit for the president's plan to suspend immigration to the U.S. in response to the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, with the former AG touting how he had suggested such a plan last week.

"Last week, I announced on@TuckerCarlson's show my plan to suspend immigration until Americans are back to work. It's great news that @RealDonaldTrump is putting this into action!" Sessions said in a tweet.

“Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is running for a Senate seat in Alabama, pushed for a complete moratorium on immigration to the U.S. on Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News last week.” @politico

— Jeff Sessions (@jeffsessions) April 21, 2020

Earlier, Trump had announced on Twitter that he planned to sign an executive order aimed at curbing immigration as a way to ensure that Americans are prioritized as the U.S. economy recovers from the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.

"in light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!" Trump said.

The president's pledge came just days after Sessions, who is now running for Senate, had urged the government to impose a strict moratorium on employment-based immigration until America's unemployment rate recovers from the crisis.

Last week, Sessions joined Tucker Carlson Tonight to pitch his proposal to "immediately halt immigration," which he said was aimed at ensuring unemployed Americans get jobs first when the economy starts to recover from the outbreak.

"We have about 1.4 million people that come to this country every year to take jobs," Sessions said.

I am calling on the federal government to immediately halt immigration to the United States until Americans are BACK TO WORK! It is insanity for this nation to invite foreigners to come in and take any of the few jobs available during this crisis.

— Jeff Sessions (@jeffsessions) April 17, 2020

"We just announced today 5 million more people on the unemployment roll...22 million now [since mid-March]. There is no doubt it is in the interest of the United States of America to make sure that we get every one of those unemployed Americans the jobs first," the former attorney general said.

"It's psychologically devastating to a person not to have work," Sessions said, defending the plan. "It undermines their well-being and family. But in addition, we have to help them financially if they're unemployed, whether it's Medicaid, Medicare, food stamps, unemployment insurance."

"So, why bring in foreign workers to take those jobs when we should do everything get American workers that are unemployed in those jobs?" Sessions questioned.

Jeff Sessions
Former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivers remarks during a farewell ceremony for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein at the Robert F. Kennedy Main Justice Building May 09, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Sessions had proposed an immigration moratorium in response to the coronavirus pandemic before President Donald Trump announced plans to sign an executive order blocking immigration to the U.S. Chip Somodevilla/Getty

The former AG told Carlson that he was confident that most Americans agreed with his logic.

"I think the polls, almost 90 percent [say] that if there's a choice between who should get a job, the American should get the job over a foreigner. Give me a break. How simple is that?" Sessions said. "Who do we owe our responsibility to as government and public officials? It's to the American people first."

It is unclear whether Trump was aware of or inspired by Sessions' proposal. However, the president is known to be an avid Fox News viewer.

If Trump was motivated by Sessions' pitch, it is unlikely the president would admit it given his tumultuous relationship with the former AG.

Earlier this month, Trump's campaign team sent a letter to Sessions demanding that the former attorney general stop invoking the president's name in his own Senate campaign.

"We only assume your campaign is doing this to confuse President Trump's loyal supporters in Alabama into believing the President supports your candidacy in the upcoming primary run-off election," the letter, which was penned by Michael Glassner, the chief operating officer of the Trump campaign, and obtained by The New York Times, said.

"Nothing could be further from the truth," Glassner wrote.

Indeed, Trump has long been at odds with his former attorney general, with the president repeatedly lashing out at Sessions over his recusal from the Trump-Russia investigation in early 2017.

Newsweek has contacted the White House, Trump's campaign team and Sessions for comment.

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