"Fundamentally we need to fix this immigration system. It's not been working right," Senator Jeff Sessions told Senators in response to a question during his confirmation hearing convened by the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday.
"We've entered more and more millions of people illegally into the country. Each one of them produces some sort of humanitarian concern, but it is particularly true for children. So, we've been placed in a bad situation. I really would urge us all to work together," he said.
"I would try to be supportive to end the illegality and put us in a position where we can wrestle with how to handle these difficult, compassionate decisions. As you know we're not able financially or any other way to seek out and remove everybody that's in the country illegally," Sessions said.
President-elect Donald Trump has indicated that criminal aliens, like President Obama indicated, certainly are the top group of people, he said.
"So I would think that the best thing for us to do, and I would urge colleagues that we understand this, let's fix this system," he said.
"And then we can work together after this lawlessness has ended and then we can ask the American people and enter into a dialogue about how to compassionately treat people who've been here a long time," he said, responding to a series of questions from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
However, Sessions opposed any move towards amnesty of those who have entered the country illegally.
"I do believe that if you continually go through a cycle of amnesty, that you undermine the respect for the law and encourage more illegal immigration into America," he said.
"I believe that's right and just and the American people are right to ask for it. We have not delivered that for them," Sessions said.
The Senator from Alabama said immigration flow was not on the basis of skills.
"Immigration flow from almost all of our countries, frankly, is based on a family connection and other visas rather than a skilled-based programme more like Canada has today, and that's all I intended to be saying there," he said, adding that he would like to see a skill-based immigration.
Immigration has been a high priority for the United States, he said, adding that it has been a leading country in the world in accepting immigration.
"I don't think American people want to end immigration. I do think that if you bring in a larger flow of labour than we have jobs for, it does impact adversely the wage prospects and the jobs prospects of American citizens," he noted.
"I think as a nation, we should evaluate immigration on whether or not it serves and advances the nation interests, not the corporate interests," he said.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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