In a 2012 interview, Jeff Sessions—Donald Trump’s pick for attorney general—told a radio host immigrants should not be allowed to serve in the military, arguing that immigrants are more likely to be spies, the Intercept reports.
Speaking with radio host Lars Larson in April 2014, Sessions asked, “in terms of who’s going to be most likely to be a spy: somebody from Cullman, Alabama, or somebody from Kenya?”
“We’re going in the wrong direction in a lot of ways,” Sessions continued. “Our head isn’t thinking clearly, at a time when this country needs a good military, last thing we need to be doing is turning out of our military of people who served and bringing in people who are illegally in the country.”
Sessions added it is “unbelievable” that during times of high unemployment, Americans are being turned down to serve in the military. “I just think this is not the right thing to do right now,” he said, referring to recruiting immigrants.
Referencing a story about a former Navy officer from Kenya who was arrested on charges of extortion, Sessions asked, “How did he get in the Navy?”
“I’m wondering: could you get good test scores from his high school?” he continued. “Could you get a good grade point average from Kenya or wherever?”
Sessions did not make a distinction between legal and illegal immigrants in his interview, but he was specifically discussing a proposed bill that would have granted citizenship to a small number of undocumented immigrants who served in the military. The bill was rejected in subcommittee.
Trump has called undocumented immigrants serving in the military a “special situation,” insisting he would consider a provision granting citizenship to those who serve.
Listen to the interview below, via The Lars Larson Show: