Sessions Bullies Dreamers, but Illegal Employers? No Problemo

Published on
by

Sessions Bullies Dreamers, but Illegal Employers? No Problemo

In taking his star turn as the killer of DACA, Sessions couldn't resist portraying Dreamers—many of whom came to the United States as infants and have lived here ever since—as UnAmerican.

He comes across like a harmless hybrid of Forrest Gump and Barney Fife, but every once in a while emerges to reveal what’s going on beneath that doofy veneer. It’s pretty terrifying, and usually pretty racist.

"He comes across like a harmless hybrid of Forrest Gump and Barney Fife, but every once in a while emerges to reveal what’s going on beneath that doofy veneer. It’s pretty terrifying, and usually pretty racist."(Photo: Reuters)

Whew, that Jeff Sessions. He comes across like a harmless hybrid of Forrest Gump and Barney Fife, but every once in a while emerges to reveal what’s going on beneath that doofy veneer. It’s pretty terrifying, and usually pretty racist.

This past Tuesday was such an occasion. That’s when our beady-eyed friend declared he was was pulling the plug on President Obama’s “unconstitutional” Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), saying that when Obama created it 2012, he “deliberately sought to achieve what the legislative branch specifically refused to authorize on multiple occasions.”

Sessions conveniently left out that the House of Representatives passed the Dream Act and that fifty-five out of one hundred U.S. Senators supported it. It would have passed, were it not for a filibuster led by then-Senator Sessions.

In taking his star turn as the killer of DACA, Sessions couldn't resist portraying Dreamers—many of whom came to the United States as infants and have lived here ever since—as UnAmerican. The program, he charged, “denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same jobs to go to illegal aliens.”

Aliens? Really? A guy that came here as an infant, went to elementary, middle and high school in the United States and now works as a paramedic is an alien?

Aliens? Really? A guy that came here as an infant, went to elementary, middle and high school in the United States and now works as a paramedic is an alien?

But the big thing, Sessions said, is laws: We gotta have ‘em and we gotta enforce ‘em, because “no greater good can be done for the overall health and well-being of our Republic than preserving and strengthening the impartial rule of law. Societies where the rule of law is treasured are societies that tend to flourish and succeed.”

In fact, enforcement of the rule of law in the Trump-Sessions era has focused on only one side of the undocumented worker-employer relationship in the United States: the (mostly Latino) worker side and not the (mostly white) employer side.

As a New York Times editorial pointed out, since President Ronald Reagan signed into law a broad immigration reform package in 1986 giving amnesty to undocumented immigrants while at the same time beefing up border security, “employer enforcement has been spotty, giving rise to the institutionalization of a wink-and-nod approach to hiring unauthorized workers.”

The editorial goes on to say that “as long as employers remain off the hook, a border wall and an expanded dragnet can only make temporary dents in the flows of undocumented immigrants.”

But don’t take it from The New York Times. Even Ronald Reagan suggested that employers should bear the brunt of the responsibility for undocumented immigrants, saying in 1984: “These are employers down through the years who have encouraged the illegal entry into this country because they then hire these individuals and hire them at starvation wages and with none of the benefits that we think are normal and natural for workers in our country, and the individuals can’t complain because of their illegal status. We don’t think that those people should be allowed to continue operating free.”

Reagan added, “I believe in the idea of amnesty for those that have put down roots and lived here, even though, sometime back, they may have entered illegally.”

Wow. The Gipper nailed it: Grant amnesty for the immigrants that were “encouraged” to come here by U.S. employers and make employers bear the brunt of responsibility for doing the encouragement.

Grant amnesty for the immigrants that were “encouraged” to come here by U.S. employers and make employers bear the brunt of responsibility for doing the encouragement.

A related sentiment was voiced by Christine Neumann-Ortiz, the leader of Voces de la Frontera, who told The Progressive that a path to citizenship for undocumented workers would help all workers in the United States, because when “you have one group of workers more vulnerable to retaliation or being taken advantage of, that undercuts the ability of U.S. citizen workers to make demands. That’s always been the case and we’ve seen that play out in very real ways.”

The key, Neumann-Ortiz argued, is to not let politicians like Jeff Sessions or Donald Trump divide workers with their race-baiting: “The historic gains of the American labor movement, which has always been diverse, is precisely rooted in workers coming together and organizing for those gains.”

Jud Lounsbury

Jud Lounsbury lives on small farm south of Madison, Wisconsin with his family and writes for and the Uppity Wisconsin blog. Follow him on Twitter: @JudLounsbury

Share This Article