publicidad
Jeff Sessions was sworn in Thursday as Attorney General

Why immigrants fear new Attorney General Sessions

Why immigrants fear new Attorney General Sessions

The Alabama senator has opposed legal immigration for more than two decades, linking new arrivals to terrorism. During the campaign he was one of the closest advisers to President-elect Trump.

Jeff Sessions was sworn in Thursday as Attorney General
Jeff Sessions was sworn in Thursday as Attorney General

If President-elect Donald Trump was looking for somone in his cabinet with immigration - or better yet, anti-immigration - experience, for the position of Attorney General, he didn't have to look far.

Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions who was sworn in Thursday was one of the first senators to back Trump early in the presidential race.

“We need a lawful system of immigration, one that serves the interest of the people of the us, that’s not wrong or inmoral, its not indecent," Sessions said at his White House swearing in, standing with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

"We admit a million of people a year plus, lawfully ... we need to end this lawlessness that threatens the public safety, pulls down wages or working Americans," he added.

Sessions was instrumental in shaping the candidacy and policies of the president-elect, especially in immigration matters, one of the hallmarks of Trump's campaign - and Sessions' political career.

"When I talk about immigration and all the problems of crime and everything else, I think of a great man ... Senator Jeff Sessions," Trump said in announcing the endorsement of Sessions at a rally in Madison, Alabama in February

"Politicians have promised for 30 years to fix illegal immigration," Sessions said, at the same event. "Donald Trump will do it."


Former Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, a Texas senator who also vehemently opposes illegal immigration, called Sessions "the strongest opponent " in Congress of granting amnesty to undocumented immigrants.

publicidad

And with good reason. Sessions opposed virtually all immigration bills that have passed through the Senate in the last two decades that have included a path to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally, according to the The Washington Post.

Sessions, 69, is chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and one of many Republicans and Democrats who agree that the nation's immigrations laws are broken and need overhaul. But he places border security and tough enforcement of deportation for undocumented immigrants at the top of his agenda, strongly opposing any form of amnesty.

Several minority and civil rights groups, including the NAACP and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, have sharply opposed the choice of Sessions as attorney general.

"[Sessions] has opposed sensible immigration proposals with incendiary language, consorts with hardline nativist groups and strongly supported the Alabama state immigration law that intentionally forced tens of thousands of Latinos out of the state – before a 2012 Supreme Court decision held such state laws to be unconstitutional," said Frank Sharry, president of the America's Voice, an immigrants rights group in Washington.

"If you have nostalgia for the days when blacks kept quiet, gays were in the closet, immigrants were invisible and women stayed in the kitchen, Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions is your man," U.S. Representative Luis Gutiérrez, of Ilinois, said in a statement after Sessions was nominated last month. "No Senator has fought harder against the hopes and aspirations of Latinos, immigrants, and people of color than Sen. Sessions."

Reince Priebus, Trump's choice for White House chief of staff, called such criticism “very political, very unfair” during an interview on ABC's “This Week,” highlighting his record as a former U.S. Attorney and his ability to work across the political aisle on major legislation.

The Trump campaign pointed out that Sessions voted for President Barack Obama’s nomination of Eric Holder to be the first black attorney general in 2009 as well as the award of a congressional Gold Medal of Honor for Rosa Parks, a civil rights icon from Alabama.

Anti-Immigration Laboratory

Alabama is also seen as one of the country's anti-immigration laboratories, a testing ground for highly restrictive laws such as HB 56 in 2011 which required police to arrest anyone with a "reasonable suspicion" of being in the country illegally, and prohibited undocumented immigrants form receiving public services, including education for children.

When asked about the impact on children of HB 56 Sessions responded: "I would only say it s a sad thing that we’ve allowed a situation to occur for decades that large numbers of people are in the country illegal and it’s going to have unpleasant, unfortunate consequences."

Sessions has also linked illegal immigration with terrorism. In 2007, when a comprehensive immigration reform bill proposed by the so-called Gang of 8 was being debated in Congress, Sessions referred to this bill as "the 2007 Terrorist Assistance and Facilitation Bill."

Prior to that, in 2006, Sessions supported the construction of 700 miles of fencing on the southern border with Mexico. "Good fences make good neighbors," he said.

publicidad

Sessions has also opposed some forms of legal immigration, including temporary worker programs and visa programs for foreign workers in science, math and high technology.

In a column for The Washington Post in 2015, Sessions wrote that "legal immigration is the primary source of low-wage immigration into the United States ... What we need now is immigration moderation: slowing the pace of new arrivals so that wages can rise, welfare rolls can shrink and the forces of assimilation can knit us all more closely together."

In a 2006 speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Sessions launched a surprising attack on immigrants from the Dominican Republic, saying almost all of them had "no provable skills" and accusing them of "sham marriages," to gain entry to the United States.


“Fundamentally, almost no one coming from the Dominican Republic to the United States is coming here because they have a provable skill that would benefit us,” Sessions said. “They come in because some other family member of a qualified relation is here as a citizen or even a green card holder. That is how they get to come. They are creating a false document to show these are relatives or their spouses and they are married when it is not so.”

New York state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, who will become Congress’ first Dominican-American member when he joins the House next year, offered Sessions a "tutorial" the contributions of Dominican Americans contribute to the United States.

publicidad

He added that the appointment of Sessions "is any indication of the direction of President-elect Trump’s administration, then every American ― regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, or ethnic background ― should take a stand and say that this appointment does not reflect the values that have made America great.”

Accusations of racism

In 1986 Sessions was blocked from becoming federal judge by accusations of racism. His colleagues gave sworn testimony that Sessions used the 'n" word to refer to black people. During a murder case involving the Ku Klux Klan colleagues said he made jokes that they seemed "okay, until he learned that they smoked marijuana."

During those 1986 hearings one of his colleagues, who was African American, testified that Sessions called him a "child" and that he "warned him about how he spoke to white people."

The senator also called a white civil rights lawyer who defended African-Americans "a disgrace" to his race.

Sessions defended himself by saying "I am not a racist. I am not insensitive to blacks," but he did admit to making racially-tinged jokes.

Sessions has also repeatedly complained that the Civil Rights Act of 1965, which protects African-American voting rights, was "intrusive legislation." Others also testified that Sessions referred to the NAACP, which advocates for the rights of African-Americans, as an "anti-American" and "communist" organization. Sessions denied these allegations.

publicidad

While allegations of racism prevented Sessions from becoming a judge, they did not prevent him from becoming Alabama's attorney general in 1995.

"Trump is moving us in the right direction"

Sessions has also supported Trump's Muslim ban and an Ideological limus test for immigrants.

“The American people clearly support the idea that if you can’t vet somebody from a dangerous area of the globe, they should not be brought into the United States,” Sessions told CBS’ Face the Nation in August.

“The idea that you ask people about their understanding of what a good government is -- if you have two people, one that believes in a Democratic Republic like we have, one that has an ideology that wants to impose a narrow view of how the government should be run, a theocracy, then why would you not choose the one who’s most harmonious with our values?” Sessions said.

“I think we can ask some of those questions. We have to be careful. We should talk to our lawyers and think it through carefully," he added.

publicidad
publicidad
After the Trump administration announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which shields 800,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation, French artist JR led a project that captured portraits of Dreamers across the U.S. Two photo-booth trucks made several stops so that undocumented youth could add their faces to the series. Univision News followed the journey.
Immigrants advocacy groups report 300 shootings aboard the train known as the The Beast. Migrant victims point to security guards hired by the government.
When Rodrigo Duterte was sworn in as Philippines’ president in June 2016, he declared a war on drug traffickers and users. Since then, Human Rights groups estimate more than 12,000 people have been killed in this offensive they call "a war on the poor." Univision News traveled to Manila and witnessed this conflict first hand.
Pedro is one of thousands of undocumented immigrants who work in chicken processing plants in Gainesville, Georgia. In a county where police work in tandem with immigration authorities and more than 72% of citizens voted for Donald Trump, many immigrants live in fear.
They grew up in Chicago and their husbands, the Flores twins (aka ‘Los Mellizos’), worked for the Sinaloa cartel. The twins later became DEA informants in Mexico who helped bring down El Chapo Guzman. They have written a book, Cartel Wives, telling their story as a lesson to others not to fall for the narco life, and they regret what they put their families through. "Our fathers put on their suit of armor and their badge, and they are going out there on the streets of Chicago,” Mia confesses. “It’s the very same streets that our husbands were flooding with drugs.”
The Rio Abajo bridge was swept away leaving the town of Utuado cut off. Neighbors engineered a pulley system to haul supplies over the river but they wonder when their lives will return to any semblance of normality.
A scene form the new documentary A Long Way From Home about the desegregation of professional baseball.
Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz reacted to comments on Twitter by President Trump in which he said Puerto Ricans “want everything done for them."
It is estimated that there are almost as many Puerto Ricans living off the island as the 3.4 million that reside there. After Hurricane Maria, almost all communication was lost between those on the island and in the diaspora. Univision sent a reporting team to the island before Maria's arrival. Part of their job now is helping connect families.
Two reporters from Univision News followed the track of Hurricane Maria, starting from the southeast where the eye made landfall all the way to the capital. This is what they saw from the road ...
An "extremely dangerous" Category 4 hurricane, Maria made landfall near Yabucoa in southeast Puerto Rico, causing widespread flooding across the U.S. territory of 3.4 million inhabitants. Maria caused rivers to flood all over the island. This video was taken in Guayama, on the south coast.
After a strong earthquake shook Mexico City, thousands of people evacuated their homes. The epicenter was 7.5 miles southeast of Axochiapan, in the state of Morelos.
Had Irma tracked 50 miles further north along Cuba's coast, the results could have been dramatically different, meteorologists say, causing devastation to the densely populated Greater Miami region. Also by tracking up Florida's west coast close to the shoreline deprived Irma of the warm Gulf water that fuels storms. Here is a compilation of the hurricane satellite images shared by NASA on social media.
Presidents don't usually pardon criminals until they have been sentenced or have at least expressed some regret, but this was not the case with Arpaio, who spoke to Univision News two weeks after being forgiven by his ally, Donald Trump.
During a meeting in the Oval office Friday, the president was asked by reporters about the future of DACA, to which he responded that a decision was coming soon. "We love the dreamers, we love everyone," he added.
The program was established in 2012 by President Barack Obama to protect certain undocumented immigrants from deportation.
De estrella de telenovelas a indigente: el trágico recorrido del actor mexicano Carlos Peniche
Entre los 5.600 indigentes de Ciudad de México, deambulaba un actor de telenovelas. Carlos Peniche cuenta por qué lo perdió todo y llegó a vivir en las calles.
Con un fuerte mensaje en contra de la corrupción, el papa Francisco concluyó su visita a Perú
Previo a oficiar una misa en Lima a la que asistieron cerca de 1,3 millones de personas, el pontífice se reunió con obispos locales y allí aseguró que la política en Latinoamérica "está muy enferma".
Gobierno venezolano enterró al expolicía Óscar Pérez y solo permitió la presencia de dos familiares
La inhumación se realizó en el Cementerio del Este en Caracas bajo estrictas medidas de seguridad de la Guardia Bolivariana. Sin embargo, esto no impidió que varios miembros de la llamada Resistencia le dieran el último adiós al que consideraban su líder.
publicidad
Incendio destruyó un edificio que alberga varias oficinas médicas en Hollywood
El siniestro fue reportado después de que vecinos vieran las llamas saliendo del primer piso de la estructura. Los bomberos tardaron 14 minutos apagando la conflagración, que habría iniciado por una falla eléctrica.
Pese al cierre del gobierno federal, las oficinas de Inmigración y Ciudadanía continúan funcionando
Abogados recomiendan a aquellos que tienen cita con Inmigración verificar si deben acudir a la misma o si, por el contrario, se debe programar una nueva fecha.
Lluvias fuertes en el área de la bahía para este lunes
A partir de esta madrugada habrá lluvias fuertes. Las temperaturas máximas alcanzarán los 59 grados.
Familia se ve sumida en la tragedia al perder a sus hijas en un accidente
La niña mayor, de cuatro años, falleció en el accidente automovilístico. La otra menor ha sido declarada con muerte cerebral.
¿Cuál fue el Gol de la Jornada 3 del Clausura 2018 de la Liga MX? | Vota ahoramexicano este fin de semana
Ahora los aficionados eligen al mejor gol de la tercera fecha del Torneo Clausura que tuvo una gran cantidad de anotaciones de altura.
Cristiano descalabrado, el Real Madrid golea y los memes a todo lo que dan
A Ronaldo le abrieron la cabeza durante el encuentro ante La Coruña y su reacción inundó las redes sociales con divertidos memes.
En fotos: Así fue el triunfo de Errol Spence Jr. sobre Lamont Peterson
El neoyorquino venció sin dificultades y se mantiene invicto como campeón de peso welter del FIB. Además, Robert Easter Jr. se impuso a Javier Fortuna en peso ligero.
Santos se consolidó como el tercer mejor equipo del torneo ante Morelia
La 'Monarquía' desperdició la oportunidad de postergar su racha ganadora en la fecha tres de la Liga MX.