Asian Americans Advancing Justice Deeply Disappointed at Senate Confirmation of Sessions

New U.S. Attorney General’s troubling record is a blow to Immigration and Civil Rights progress

WASHINGTON, D.C. — February 8, 2017 ― Attorney general nominee, Jeff Sessions, was confirmed through a floor vote in the Senate this evening.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice (Advancing Justice), an affiliation of five civil rights organizations, issued the following statement:

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.

It is deeply troubling that the Senate confirmed Jeff Sessions despite his extreme anti-immigrant record and reports that he played a role in President Trump’s executive order to ban Muslims and Syrian refugees. Sessions has been the standard bearer for a nativist vision of America, sounding the alarm regarding the “unprecedented” percentage of the American population that is foreign-born – without regard for the fact that the current percentage is lower than during the late 1800s, when the foreign-born were overwhelmingly from Western Europe.

Over the course of his twenty-year Senate career, he has raised concern regarding patterns of immigration post-1965 – a watershed year in which the United States dismantled its explicitly racist national origin quotas (including the remaining vestiges of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and related anti-Asian immigration policies). This critical change in U.S. immigration policy finally allowed larger numbers of non-Europeans into the U.S., creating the diversity we see in America today.

Now, as attorney general, Sessions is responsible for the entire immigration court system and implementing significant parts of the executive order which has already separated families, sparked protests, and enraged millions across the nation and internationally.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice and all Americans are watching Sessions, and he will need to demonstrate that he can be fair and equitable in his role as attorney general for all those who call America home.


Michelle Boykins, (202) 296-2300 x144,

Randy Bunnao, (213) 241-0227,

Brandon Lee, (773) 271-0899 x200,

James Woo, (404) 585-8446,

Tejal Mankad, (415) 848 -7736,




Asian Americans Advancing Justice is a national affiliation of five leading organizations advocating for the civil and human rights of Asian Americans and other underserved communities to promote a fair and equitable society for all. The affiliation’s members are: Advancing Justice – AAJC (Washington, D.C.), Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (San Francisco), Advancing Justice – Los Angeles, Advancing Justice – Atlanta, and Advancing Justice – Chicago.