Durbin Grills Sessions On Immigration, Criminal Justice
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today raised concerns regarding the civil rights record of Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who is nominated to serve as U.S. Attorney General, during the first day of his confirmation hearings.
During his remarks, Senator Durbin recognized two guests who personify the most pressing issues facing our country’s top law enforcement officer: former DREAMer and U.S. veteran Oscar Vazquez and Chicagoan Alton Mills, who spent 22 years in federal prison for a non-violent drug offense before President Barack Obama commuted his life sentence.
Speaking to Sessions, Durbin said, “When you had the chance you strongly opposed the bipartisan Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act. This legislation that Chairman Grassley and I introduced would eliminate the 'three strikes and you’re out' life sentence and give hundreds of low-level nonviolent offenders who are currently serving life sentences – like Alton Mills was – the chance to petition on an individual basis for a sentence reduction.
“It was 16 years ago that I joined with Senator Hatch in introducing the DREAM Act, which would give Dreamers a chance to earn legal status. You’ve called this bill a 'reckless proposal for mass amnesty' and 'an affront to the rule of law.' You are also strongly opposed to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, better known as DACA, which gives a temporary stay of deportation to Dreamers. You’ve harshly criticized the Obama Administration for using its discretion with undocumented immigrants like Oscar. And you have even objected to immigrants serving in the Armed Forces, saying, for example, 'in terms of who’s going to be most likely to be a spy: somebody from Cullman, Alabama, or somebody from Kenya?'”
Video of Durbin’s remarks is available here.
Audio of Durbin’s remarks is available here.
Footage of Durbin’s remarks for TV Stations is available here.
Last week, Senator Durbin met with Senator Sessions to discuss his nomination and key issues, including gun violence and Department of Justice funding in the city of Chicago, comprehensive immigration reform and the future of DACA, criminal justice reform, policing and civil rights, race relations, and President-elect Trump’s call for a ban on Muslims in America. After the meeting, Durbin noted that the position of Attorney General “requires a much broader world view than [Sessions’] current one.”
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