Obama DOJ Nominee Evasive on Whether Amnesty a 'Civil Right'

During Wednesday's Senate Judiciary Committee nomination hearing, President Barack Obama's nominee to be Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights refused to answer whether he believes that amnesty is a civil right, which is the belief of the person who may be his boss – Attorney General Eric Holder.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) read what Holder told the Mexican American Legal and Education Fund last year in his questioning: 

Creating a pathway to earned citizenship for the 11 million unauthorized immigrants in this country is essential. The way we treat our friends and neighbors who are undocumented – by creating a mechanism for them to earn citizenship and move out of the shadows – transcends the issue of immigration status. This is a matter of civil and human rights. It is about who we are as a nation. And it goes to the core of our treasured American principle of equal opportunity.

Sessions then questioned nominee Debo Adegbile about whether he believed illegal immigrants had a "civil right to citizenship in America." 

After Adegbile deflected the question, Sessions asked him again if he agreed with Holder about whether illegal immigrants had "a civil right to citizenship in America."

Adegbile responded by saying he was "just hearing this statement now" and said he believed that "in certain circumstances" those who "are vulnerable or not properly documented can be preyed upon because of their status," and "there are certain circumstances in which such people would need the protection of law enforcement" so that their rights are not violated under the Constitution.  

Sessions then quoted Peter Kirsanow, a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Commission, who said comparing amnesty to the civil rights movement is an "incoherent" understanding of a movement in which law-abiding black citizens were not seeking exemption from law but the application of the laws in the manner which they were applied to whites. 

When asked if Adegbile agreed with that statement, he simply answered that, if confirmed, he would give "fidelity" to the law and "enforce the laws as they are given by this Senate and the House of Representatives and duly signed by the president." 


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