By Rafael Bernal
May 28, 2017
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) on Friday called for a meeting with Attorney General Jeff Sessions amid debate over the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) enhanced focus on immigration enforcement.
In a letter requesting the meeting, CHC members criticized Sessions for ordering a review of police and criminal justice reform efforts set forth by the Obama administration.
The letter claimed the DOJ under Sessions was moving away from the “administration of fair and impartial justice for all.”
“Unfortunately, in recent months, the Department of Justice has issued a number of troubling policy changes that run counter to this mission and move us away from a more fair and just society,” read the letter, signed by CHC Chairwoman Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.) and five other members.
Sessions has made immigration enforcement a cornerstone of his tough-on-crime approach.
The CHC similarly invited Immigration and Customs Enforcement acting Director Thomas Homan to meet in February. That meeting became the subject of controversy after Homan canceled at the last minute, angering the CHC.
Eventually, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly met with CHC members and discussed their concerns about immigration enforcement.
While the CHC complained to Kelly mostly about how immigration agents carry out their mission, a potential meeting with Sessions would almost certainly dive into the Trump administration’s core immigration and law enforcement policies.
Sessions has taken the lead in laying out the administration’s strategy and priorities on immigration and law enforcement.
Among Sessions’s more controversial proposals are penalties against “sanctuary jurisdictions” — state and local governments that refuse full cooperation with the feds on immigration — and the expansion of immigration detainment centers.
Sessions also issued tougher sentencing guidelines for an array of offenses, including drug and immigration violations.
“Unfortunately, even as violent crime has surged and overdose deaths have spiked, federal gun and drug prosecutions have fallen in recent years. We will reverse that trend,” Sessions told law enforcement officers in Memphis, Tenn., on Thursday.
The administration’s opponents have been critical of those policies, arguing they unfairly target minorities and erode trust between communities and law enforcement.
“At a time when we should be strengthening the relationship between law enforcement and minority communities, we have seen some concerning trends that instill fear and erode trust between local law enforcement and the communities they are charged with protecting,” read the CHC letter.
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
For more information, go to: www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com