AG Nominee: Obama’s Executive Amnesty Wasn’t Actually an Amnesty

by Ryan Lovelace

During attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch’s confirmation hearings today, she took issue with Alabama senator Jeff Sessions’s characterization of the president’s November executive action on immigration as an “executive amnesty,” arguing the legal status it affords is merely temporary.

When Sessions followed up by asking whether she felt the action afforded illegal immigrants a right to work in the U.S., meaning the Department of Justice might have to ensure employers are giving them equal treatment alongside citizens, Lynch dodged the question.

“With respect to the provision about temporary deferral, I did not read it as providing a legal amnesty, that is that permanent status there,” Lynch said. “With respect to whether those individuals [illegal immigrants] would be able to seek redress for employment discrimination, if that is the purpose of your question, again I haven’t studied that legal issue. I certainly think you raise an important point and would look forward to discussing it with you and using, and relying upon your thoughts and experiences as we consider that point.” 

Lynch also attempted to dodge Sessions’s questions about whether she supported the president’s executive actions on immigration, and whether she considered citizenship a civil right. She declined to answer whether or not she supports the president’s action, and answered that citizenship is a privilege only after Sessions asked the same question three times.

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