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It’s Clear: Ohioans Cannot Count on Jeff Sessions to Defend Our Rights

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Lynn Tramonte: Senator Brown is Right to Oppose; Senator Portman Is Predictably Missing in Action

Cleveland, OH – Nominating Jeff Sessions to be Attorney General of the United States was one of Donald Trump’s first “presidential” acts, and the choice sent a clear and undeniable message: I actually did mean all of those extreme, bigoted things I said during the election.

Today, US Senator Sherrod Brown announced that he will vote against Sessions’ confirmation.  Brown wrote: “I have serious concerns that Senator Sessions’ record on civil rights is at direct odds with the task of promoting justice and equality for all, and I cannot support his nomination.”

“Sessions’ record on issues of race and justice issues is appalling, and should immediately disqualify him from being our nation’s chief defender of civil rights,” said Lynn Tramonte, Director of Ohio’s Voice.  “I applaud Senator Brown for showing leadership and the courage of his convictions.  The United States needs an Attorney General who will work to defend all Americans’ civil rights, not someone who has made a career out of gutting them.

“Of course, it’s no surprise that Senator Portman is missing in action on this critical question. Make no mistake: a vote on Sessions’ nomination will be a defining vote.  For weeks, civil rights groups have been sounding the alarm bell about Sessions’ anti-civil rights worldview and record.  Soon we will see who Senator Portman will stand with: Ohioans who expect their civil rights to be protected, or a Senate ‘colleague’ who doesn’t even believe in those rights,” said Tramonte.

While Sessions’ civil rights record is highly troubling and makes him unfit to serve as U.S. Attorney General, the office also has broad authority over immigration policy with major implications for Ohio immigrants and families.  There too, Sessions’ record is highly concerning to Cleveland-based immigration attorney David Leopold.

In a new piece on Medium, Leopold writes:

“The nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to be U.S. Attorney General is a clear and ominous sign that President-elect Donald Trump fully intends to make good on his call for mass deportation, registration of Muslims and radical restrictions on legal immigration.

Since he entered the U.S. Senate twenty years ago, Jeff Sessions has made his mark as one of the most vehemently nativist, anti-immigrant legislators in American history. Rather than join colleagues who’ve reached across the aisle to try to update America’s antiquated immigration system, Sessions has spent decades working hand in hand with anti-immigrant extremists to block their efforts.

As the nation’s top lawyer, head of the immigration court, and civil rights officer, Jeff Sessions would have access to multiple tools to harm immigrants and undermine due process. Given his rhetoric and record as a United States Senator, as well as his association with anti-immigrant extremists, there is every reason to believe he would use all of them.”

The full piece is available here.

Additional Resources

America’s Voice Education Fund Backgrounder on Senator Sessions: A Session in Hate

David Leopold: Five Chilling Ways Senator Jeff Sessions Could Attack Immigrants

Letter: Civil and Human Rights Organizations Oppose Confirmation of Jeff Sessions

Follow Lynn Tramonte on Twitter: @tramontela and @AmericasVoice

Ohio’s Voice – Harnessing the power of Ohio voices and Ohio values to win common sense immigration reform