February 8, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC—Today, the Senate voted to confirm Senator Jeff Sessions as attorney general despite a long and pointedly negative track record on the protection of civil rights and equal opportunity for minorities. Sessions’ nomination to the nation’s highest law enforcement post drew heavy criticism from community leaders, civil rights activists and even his own colleagues. Senator Cory Booker took the unprecedented step of testifying against his fellow senator during Sessions’ confirmation hearing, as well as giving an impassioned speech on the Senate floor urging colleagues to vote against confirmation.
“Senator Sessions’ record shows that he has long sided with intolerant extremists—he has spent a good deal of his career fighting against extending liberty and justice to all people,” said NCLR (National Council of La Raza) President and CEO Janet Murguía. “As an organization that works to protect and defend the rights of all Americans, and seeks to end discrimination against Latinos and immigrants, we are troubled that the Senate would approve someone with Senator Sessions’ egregious record of supporting injustice against anyone living on American soil.”
The many concerns about the new attorney general include his longstanding efforts to defend voter suppression laws, his opposition to hate crimes legislation, his rejection of efforts to address pay equity for women, and his refusal to disavow the views of white nationalist hate groups with whom he has long associated.
“This administration’s unconstitutional executive orders and despicable attacks on our judiciary should put all of us on guard as to how far this administration and congressional leadership are willing to go to advance anti-immigrant and anti–civil rights policies. The Senate leadership’s silencing of the iconic Coretta Scott King’s words during the debate last night is an especially shameful example,” Murguía stated.
“This is precisely the time when we need an attorney general who will speak out and stand up for all people protected by our laws. We have no confidence that Senator Sessions will be that type of leader. But we have no doubt that we, alongside allies and partners across the political and ideological spectrums, will do all that is necessary to ensure that our communities’ rights are not infringed upon, our progress is not eroded and our voices are not silenced,” Murguía added.
NCLR—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—works to build a stronger America by creating opportunities for Latinos. For more information on NCLR, please visit www.nclr.org or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.