Sen. Jeff Sessions sworn in as attorney general
- Author: Larry Hoffman Feb 12, 2017,
Feb 12, 2017, 21:33
President Donald Trump signed three executive orders Thursday that he said were "designed to restore safety in America".
In a report co-written by David Brown, the former Dallas police chief widely praised for his response to the killing of five officers previous year, the officials said Trump should rethink his blunt law-and-order plans.
City officials in Baltimore, meanwhile, are reacting to an increase in homicides.
"Jeff Sessions and President Trump are stuck in the 1980s when it comes to drug policy, while most of the country knows by now that we need alternatives to the failed drug war", said Bill Piper, senior director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. "My best judgment, having been involved in criminal law enforcement for many years, is that this is a risky, permanent trend that places the health and safety of the American people at risk".
Sessions previously warned that terrorists could use the refugee program to sneak into the country - something Trump has echoed - and pressed the Obama administration for details on nationals he had pegged as potential terrorists.
The executive order seeks to "define new federal crimes, and increase penalties for existing federal crimes, in order to prevent violence" against state and federal police. "You have to be proactive", Trump said to applause. 70-year-old Sessions, who was the Senator from Alabama since 1997, was confirmed as America's powerful law enforcement officer by surviving a near-party-line vote by 52 to 47.
As Attorney General, Sessions can lead investigations into abusive visa practices, work with the Department of Homeland Security to ensure illegal aliens are deported after serving their sentences, stop federal grants from the Justice Department from going to sanctuary cities, issue directives concerning which foreigners can apply for asylum in the USA, and more. The executive order was given the official name: "Enforcing federal law with respect to the transnational criminal organization, and preventing global trafficking". Statistics show 41 law enforcement officer killings in 2015, nearly 20% less than in 2014, when 51 law enforcement officers were killed in action.
Some cities in recent years, including Ferguson, Missouri, Baltimore and Charlotte, North Carolina, have seen protests and violence erupt after incidents of black men being killed at the hands of law enforcement officers. "The attorney general's role is to enforce the law".
Republicans defended Sessions on Wednesday, arguing that despite lining up with Trump on certain issues, he wouldn't position himself as an "arm of the White House".
"I don't expect we will see any significant backsliding, but I think things are going to move more slowly, which is actually preferred by many of our members", Allen said in an email.
Looking at Sessions' record, Toomey said he believes he will enforce the law for every American.
That's not wrong. That's not immoral.
The AG said, "My best judgement is that this is a unsafe permanent trend that puts the health and safety of the American people at risk".