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Educators work every day to ensure opportunities for all of our nation’s students. We are deeply concerned about the confirmation of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He has a long record of undermining the civil liberties of our nation’s most underrepresented populations, including communities of color, students with disabilities, immigrants, and LGBTQ populations.
Utah elementary school teacher and National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García remarked:
Sen. Jeff Sessions is alarmingly unfit to carry out the duties and responsibilities of the office of Attorney General. Sessions fought against equitable funding for public schools, opposed rights for students with disabilities and undermined additional civil rights across a range of issues. He has also voiced hostility toward immigrants, LGBTQ students and Muslims. Chillingly, during today’s hearing he channeled President-elect Donald Trump in reiterating Trump’s position to deprive aspiring Americans—people who came to the U.S. as children—of the opportunity to continue to contribute and thrive in this country.
With all of these critical issues and more at stake, educators will deepen our resolve to widen our own eyes to systemic racial injustice and inequities and to build local and state policy changes that will act as a firewall for our students and communities and we are not alone. Hear what our education justice allies are saying.
“The attorney general is the people’s lawyer. As the head of the principal arm of our government charged with protecting our rights and civil liberties, anyone taking on this role must decisively stand up to those who would attempt to undermine them. … Sadly, given his track record of systematically marginalizing already disenfranchised communities, we are not confident that Sen. Sessions will live up to this high standard.”
“Trump has shown little respect for the courts or the constitutional limits on his power, and there is no reason to think that Attorney General Sessions will act as an independent check on the president.“
Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, one of President-elect Donald Trump’s closest advisers during his campaign and his selection for U.S. attorney general, has longstanding and extensive ties to both anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim extremist groups.
It’s not hard to see why leaders of the anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim movements are so pleased with Trump’s appointment of Sessions as attorney general. Their champion has moved from the Senate to the doorstep of the Attorney General’s Office.
“We are disappointed that the Senate chose to turn a blind eye to Jeff Sessions’ long record of hostility to civil rights. We intend to be relentless in holding this Justice Department accountable. The attorney general has an obligation and duty to protect the civil rights of all Americans. We will not allow the Justice Department to abandon this important work now.”
“During his confirmation hearing Mr. Sessions claimed he would uphold ‘statutes protecting [LGBTQ people’s] safety’ and ensure that ‘civil rights are enforced.’ But his record gives little comfort on that score: from voting against the Violence Against Women Act to the LGBTQ-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act, Sessions has shown no regard for protecting LGBTQ people’s civil rights.”
“His confirmation as Attorney General is a threat to voters of color, our military personnel and older voters who face barriers to voting. Under his leadership, the future of critical voter protections is in peril as he favors extreme voter suppression policies and unnecessary restrictive voter ID laws.”
“The new U.S. Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, has much to prove to the American public that he will lead the U.S. Department of Justice in a fair and equitable manner that is in direct opposition to his 30-year record of being anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, and anti-civil rights.”
“Rather than hang our heads in despair, the NAACP will continue to hold the new AG and the Department of Justice accountable for enforcing protections against voter suppression, the use of consent decrees as a means of reigning in racism within police departments, protection of women’s rights and the humane treatment for immigrant communities and sanctuary cities.”