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Sessions on immigration: 'American people spoke clearly' in electing Trump

Sean Cockerham, McClatchy Washington Bureau on

Published in News & Features

Sessions said he would have no objection to Trump reversing President Barack Obama's 2012 executive order protecting from deportation immigrants who came to the United States illegally as children. Sessions called the directive "very questionable in my opinion constitutionally."

Rojas, who came to California as an infant, is among the so-called "Dreamers" who have been protected from deportation through Obama's order.

"There is a lot of fear," she said.

Sessions was vague when pressed by senators on what should happen to the 740,000 "Dreamers" who are protected under Obama's executive order.

Sessions suggested that's a matter for lawmakers and that as attorney general he would follow the law.

He said Congress and the Trump administration should "end the illegality and put us in a position where we can wrestle with how to handle these difficult, compassionate decisions."

Sessions added that it's not financially possible to deport everyone who is in the country illegally and that Trump's priority is deporting people with criminal records.

Durbin said Session didn't answer his question about what would happen to the Dreamers who "would be left in the lurch, whose lives would be ruined."

"Dreamers" who came to the U.S. illegally as children are feeling particularly vulnerable to deportation under Trump because they stepped forward to identify themselves in exchange for a promise from the Obama administration that they wouldn't face deportation and could apply for work permits.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., wrote in a Tuesday op-ed that "my office has received more than 33,000 calls and emails from Californians afraid of how minorities, including Dreamers and undocumented immigrants, will be treated under a Trump administration."

Many Republicans in the Senate agree with Sessions on immigration and other issues, however, and his confirmation as attorney general is virtually assured.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, pointed to Session's support from law enforcement groups and said "it's hard to imagine why anyone would be against you."

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