In today’s confirmation hearing for Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s nomination for Attorney General, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) asked Ms. Lynch a number of questions about who has (or should have) more rights to a job in this country, those who are American citizens or those who have received work permits under deferred action. He went even further asking if Ms. Lynch, as the Attorney General, would take enforcement action against an employer who “preferred” to hire an American citizen over someone who had been given work authorization through “executive amnesty,” i.e. deferred action. Senator Sessions, I hate to have to be the one to tell you this, but discrimination based on nationality is not legal in this country. Really. Look it up.
Throughout the hearing Sen. Sessions tried to position himself as the champion of unemployed American workers, just one Senator looking out for their very best interests—at one point even invoking the civil rights movement. But, even a casual glance at his voting record makes it frighteningly obvious that one thing Senator Sessions is not, is a champion for the American worker. Here are just a few ways that Sessions has undermined the American worker (as noted by Ezra Klein for The Washington Post’s Wonkblog last year):
- In February 2012, Sessions opposed extending payroll tax cuts that would have saved working families about $1,000 per year.
- Sessions also opposed the American Jobs Act that would have created tax breaks for working families, reduced the federal deficit and created incentives for employers to hire unemployed veterans.
- In 2007, Sessions voted against the Employer Free Choice Act. Klein notes the legislation would have “made certain that the gains of the economy were shared more equitably between labor and capital.”
- Sessions has also consistently opposed other tax cuts for middle class workers, raising the minimum wage and extending unemployment insurance and food assistance programs for working families who struggle every day.
What makes this all even scarier—Senator Sessions is the newly appointed chair of the subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest (he changed the name from Immigration, Refugees and Border Security)-which means we’ll be subject to this kind of obfuscation for at least two more years.