On Saturday, January 14, 2016, the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice (ACIJ) supported by other organizations held a rally on the steps of the Vance Federal Building in Birmingham, Alabama to protest Trump’s nomination of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to become the U. S. Attorney General.
200 protestors gathered on the street in front of the building, which houses Jeff Sessions district office. The protestors held signs with quotes from Jeff Sessions showing his bias against immigrants, children were dressed with butterfly wings and a giant puppet of Trump with a red hat with the words “Make America Alabama Again!” on it.
Several speakers, who were hard working immigrants, who had been in Alabama for many years spoke out about Jeff Sessions support for Alabama’s draconian HB56 anti-immigration law. Parts of the law have been challenged and beaten in the courts but the law was the strictest in the nation and forced many undocumented immigrants to flee the state. Speakers addressed their fears that if Sessions is confirmed as U. S. Attorney General that he will support policies that will lead to the deportation of many more immigrants and break up families who have been in this country for many years.
Several of the speakers were young people who were brought to this country as children by their parents and who participated in President Obama’s DACA program which allowed them to go to college and to work without fear of deportation. These young people are often referred to as “dreamers” because they fought so hard for this program to grow up and become educated and productive U. S. citizens.
One young lady on the DACA program said, “ I came to this country at three years old. I have lived in Alabama as long as I can remember. I am a participant in the DACA program. I am going to college here in Birmingham and I am fearful of the future if Jeff Sessions becomes Attorney General. I am an Alabamian and I want to live here and contribute to society and my community here. I am undocumented and fear what President Trump assisted by Attorney General Sessions will do to me to end my dreams.”
Other speakers spoke to Senator Sessions voting record in the U. S. Senate in opposition to voting rights, civil rights, womens rights, labor rights and many basic rights enjoyed by people in this country.