Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., issued a statement on Sunday morning after white supremacists and counterprotestors clashed at a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Cotton said white supremacists “betray” American values and are “contemptible little men” who do not represent what is “best about America.”
Cotton, who appears on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics from an earlier recorded interview, released his comments while traveling abroad in the Balkans in Eastern Europe on a CODEL, an official Congressional delegation abroad.
“I’m currently traveling in the Balkans, where the long, violent history of ethnic supremacism still stalks the land and is a reminder of how unique America is,” he said.
“White supremacists who claim to ‘take America back’ only betray their own ignorance of what makes America so special: our country’s founding recognition of the natural rights of all mankind and commitment to the defense of the rights of all Americans. These contemptible little men do not speak for what is just, noble, and best about America. They ought to face what they would deny their fellow citizens: the full extent of the law,” Cotton noted.
On Saturday, self-described white nationalists descended on Charlottesville to protest the removal of a Confederate monument and to push for a “Unite the Right” rally. Clashes broke out between the rally participants and protestors leading to the declaration of an “unlawful assembly” and “state of emergency” by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
Later in the day, a rally participant identified as James Alex Fields drove a Dodge Challenger through a crowd of counterprotestors killing one woman and injuring 32 people.
In the Cotton interview with KATV’s Chris May, the state’s junior senator touted his efforts to reform legal immigration. Cotton is pushing a bill known as RAISE — Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy — which would curtail the system of legal immigration in the U.S.
The RAISE Act would:
- Establish a skills-based points system to replace the current permanent employment-visa system with a skills-based points system, akin to the systems used by Canada and Australia;
- Prioritize immediate family households aimed at retaining immigration preferences for the spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, while eliminating preferences for certain categories of extended and adult family members;
- Eliminate the diversity visa lottery, which they claim is plagued with fraud; and
- Place a limit on permanent residency for refugees by limiting permanent residency to 50,000 per year.
Cotton said the bill does away with arbitrary caps and different set-asides and quotas, which have been the essential foundation of immigration in the past.
“We would just do away with all of that, and we’d say, ‘Let’s look at the evidence that suggests what is going to make an immigrant a success story.’ Help them find a job that pays a good wage and not go on welfare, support their family, pay taxes, and so forth,” he said.
“And if you look at the evidence, you look at countries that have similar systems on which we modeled our legislation, like Canada and Australia. There are just a few very simple indicators. Age, English language ability, levels of education in your educational field, the wage that you’re going to be paid relative to average wages in your community. Your ability to invest money and manage that money, any kind of exceptional skills or achievements like internationally recognized science awards or sporting events, and so forth. We just award a series of points for those kind of achievements,” Cotton added.
The bill is expected to have an uphill climb to pass the Senate, the House and to make it to the President’s desk. Cotton said he’s willing to compromise on parts of the legislation.
“I hope it can get to the President’s desk as it’s written. I’m, of course, open for negotiations. It’s a big, diverse complicated country. There may be issues that [Sen.] David Perdue and I saw in Georgia and Arkansas that we didn’t recognize played out differently in other parts of the country. More likely what we’ll see to pass this legislation we’ll have to make some compromises with Democrats and their priorities, but again, we’re willing to sit down and do that,” Cotton said.
Sen. Cotton also discussed North Korea, healthcare and tax reform, and the Russian investigation. Watch his full interview below.