The Sessions Era Begins At The USDOJ

Greg Sargent  writes in The Morning Plum in today’s Washington Post:

“Jeff Sessions has now been confirmed as attorney general, and this vaults him to a position in American life that is unique. Perhaps more than any other person, Sessions stands at the nexus of many of the potential plot lines that we should fear most about the Donald Trump presidency.

Here are the possibilities we need to worry about. President Trump’s refusal to divest from his business holdings creates the possibility of untold conflicts of interest and even full-blown corruption on an unprecedented scale. The hostility of Trump and Republicans to a full, independent probe into Russian meddling in the election may mean there will never be a full public accounting of what happened, which could make a repeat more likely.
Trump’s year of lies about voter fraud, and his campaign vows of explicit persecution of minorities, could signal further voter suppression efforts, weakened civil rights protections, and the use of state power against Muslims and undocumented immigrants in draconian or discriminatory ways. Trump’s well-documented authoritarian impulses could conceivably tip him into genuine authoritarian rule, in which, for instance, the power of the state is turned against critics or political opponents.

Sessions is now in a unique position to facilitate and enable — or, by contrast, to act as a legal check on — some or all of these possibilities, should they metastasize (or metastasize further) into serious threats to vulnerable minorities or, more broadly, to our democracy. Here are the things to fear:


You can read the full article at the link.  Although noting Session’s involvement with immigration, Sargent overlooks what is likely to be AG Session’s biggest legacy, for better or, as many expect, for worse.  That is his unilateral control over the United States Immigration Courts, perhaps America’s largest and most important Federal Court System, with 530,000+ pending cases, and hundreds of thousands (if not millions) about to be pushed into the already clogged “pipeline” under President Trump’s Executive Orders on immigration enforcement. Unlike most administrative courts within the Executive Branch, the Immigration Court not only has authority to order what in many cases can be indefinite “civil detention” but also to impose permanent exile on individuals (and, as a de facto matter on their U.S. citizen families), including some who were legally admitted to the United States and have resided here many years with “green cards.” Even in the area of criminal  law, few judges in any system possess comparable authority to permanently affect the lives  of so many individuals, their families, and their communities.



Good News For Dreamers? — Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) Recognizes Moral, Human, And Practical Imperatives In Retaining DACA!

As reported by Greg Sargent in his “The Morning Plum” in today’s Post, speaker Ryan had an exchange with an undocumented mother which got right to the heart of the human beings whose lives are in play in the DACA debate:

“In a remarkable exchange with an undocumented mother last night at a CNN town hall, House Speaker Paul Ryan strongly suggested to her that the revocation of protections for the DREAMers brought here as children will not be carried out. That’s newsworthy on its own. But beyond that, the exchange also exposed the cruelty of stepped-up mass deportations for many other low-level undocumented offenders:

It’s a powerful moment, but the policy details lurking underneath the emotion are also extremely important. A woman brought here illegally as an 11-year-old child “through no fault of her own,” as CNN’s Jake Tapper put it, asked whether she and “many families in my situation” should face deportation. “No,” Ryan responded. After noting her love for her daughter, Ryan added:

“What we have to do is find a way to make sure that you can get right with the law. And we’ve got to do this so that the rug doesn’t get pulled out from under you and your family gets separated. That’s the way we feel. And that is exactly what our new, incoming president has stated he wants to do….I’m sure you’re a great contributor to [your] community.”

This might be a reference to the fact that Trump recently seemed to back off his pledge to reverse President Obama’s executive action protecting DREAMers from deportation, saying instead that “we’re going to work something out” for them. Indeed, under subsequent questioning from Tapper, Ryan explicitly said he and the Trump transition team were working on a “good, humane solution” for the hundreds of thousands currently benefiting from that executive action.”


I hope that Speaker Ryan, a powerful person on the Washington scene, will be able to follow through on persuading President Trump and his GOP Congressional colleagues to “do the right thing” here.  Combined with soon to be DHS Secretary Gen. John Kelly’s non-polemical statements on DACA and enforcement priorities, there seems to be some hope of a reasonable solution to this difficult human situation.