Trump AG Pick Jeff Sessions Open to Ending Protections for Those Brought Here Illegally by Parents

WASHINGTON -- On Day 1 of Senate confirmation hearings, Attorney General nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions signaled support for overturning President Barack Obama’s executive orders protecting people who came to the U.S. illegally as children from deportation.Asked by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., whether he’d advise President-elect Donald Trump to repeal Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program that also provides renewable two-year work permits to young immigrants, Sessions said it’s an “issue that needs to be studied.”“It would certainly be Constitutional, I believe to end that order,” he said, adding that he doesn’t believe the Department of Justice would object to abandoning DACA “because it is very questionable in my opinion, Constitutionally.”Graham, who opened his questioning by saying he enthusiastically supports Sessions’ nomination, asked what should be done with the estimated 800,000 people granted deportation protection under the DACA program.“Fundamentally we need to fix this immigration system,” Sessions said, adding that it’s up to Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Sessions also indicated support to “end illegality” for those affected.Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat, pressed Sessions on the issue, noting the Alabama lawmaker voted against the “the only bipartisan” immigration reform effort in “modern memory.”Durbin asked him what should be done with the hundreds of thousands of people who came out of the shadows, saying: “What is the humane, legal answer to that?”Sessions emphasized that, like Obama, Trump would put a priority on deporting criminals and terrorists - suggesting a lower priority on Dreamers.“As you know, Sen. Durbin, we’re not able financially or any other way to seek out and remove everyone in the country illegally,” Sessions said.Sessions reiterated that it's up to lawmakers -- not the attorney general -- to fix the immigration system and then “ask the American people” about how to “compassionately treat” those living in the U.S. illegally.Durbin criticized Sessions for avoiding the problem by refusing to address the Dreamers’ fate before enactment of an immigration overhaul that for years has eluded Congress. These people, he said, who would be “left in a lurch, whose lives would be ruined.”-- Staff writer Todd J. Gillman contributed to this report.   Continue reading...

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