Attorney General Nominee Jeff Sessions And the Future of DACA

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As President-elect Trump’s nominees go through their confirmation hearings, the American public is able to get a glimpse as to what the administration’s new policies may be. For those particularly concerned with the appointment of Senator Jeff Sessions to the position of Attorney General, his views on ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) may be troubling.

Senator Sessions made it clear during his hearing on Tuesday, January 10th that he found the policy “very questionable…constitutionally” and would support it being repealed.  When Senator Dick Durbin, one of the creators of the BRIDGE Act, asked, “What’s going to happen to those 800,000 if you revoke that order and they are subject to deportation tomorrow?” Sessions replied:

“The attorney general’s role is to enforce the law. And, as you know, Senator Durbin, we’re not able financially, or any other way, to seek out and remove everybody that’s in the country illegally. President [-elect] Trump has indicated that criminal aliens — like President Obama indicated — certainly are the top group of people. 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. And then we can work together after this lawlessness has been 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.”

As Senator Durbin then pointed out, the answer does not address the issues of the hundred of thousands of young people who would no longer be able to work or drive legally. America’s Voice released a statement on Sessions’ testimony, stating “To translate, Senator Sessions’ supports ending DACA, and suggests some day, somehow, some way his colleagues would come together to “fix [the] system.”  Of course, Sessions’ has been the chief opponent to every bipartisan effort to do just that, making his words ring hollow.” Senator Sessions’ words also overlook the $433 billion dollars the United States economy would lose in just ten years if DACA were to end.

Additionally, when asked about his close ties to ant-Muslim and anti-immigrant groups Sessions “chose not to disavow these awards and associations, but instead attack the credibility of highly-respected civil rights organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).”

If appointed to the position of Attorney General, Session will play a major role in America’s immigration policies. He would have control over the immigration court system, as well as wield the authority necessary to put pressure on local law enforcement agencies to assist Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

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Sara Roncero-Menendez is the Online Editor for Long Island Wins. Prior to joining the Long Island Wins team, she graduate from NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and worked as a reporter for publications like Mashable, The Huffington Post, and PSFK. She became involved in immigration issues and advocacy while working towards her Masters degree at The University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign. After joining the Graduate Employee Organization Local 6300, she worked on helping international and undocumented students work with the administration to get fair financial aid and fellowship opportunities. Sara also works on issues of representation in mass media, including film and television, and works on media reviews and podcast.