Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez Pens Letter to US Senator Jeff Sessions

As Senator Jeff Sessions begins his confirmation hearings at the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee today, many of his past comments about race, gender, LGBT rights and more are catching up to him. Several comments the senator made in 2006 on the floor of the Senate about Dominican-Americans have inflamed the Dominican community in New York City, the single largest group of immigrants living in the city.

Senator Sessions, in his comments, said: “Fundamentally, almost no one coming from the Dominican Republic to the United States is coming here because they have a provable skill that would benefit us and that would indicate their likely success in our society.”

In response, NYC Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, himself a Dominican-American, who immigrated to the United States at 18, co-founded two schools in Washington Heights and was elected to office in 2009, penned this letter to Senator Sessions, detailing the plethora of contributions Dominicans have made to American Society, across numerous fields of discipline.

The letter highlights illustrious figures in Dominican-American history, including many luminaries of today, such as Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Diaz and performing artist Romeo Santos.

In November of 2016, Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez and NYS Assemblywoman Carmen De La Rosa spoke out against Senator Sessions, calling on him to clarify his ‘un-American’ remarks.

These comments follow a trend of troubling remarks that have led many civil rights organizations, faith leads, lawyers, academics and more, to call for Sessions to remove himself for consideration for the position of Attorney General, or for President-Elect Trump to rescind his nomination. From sympathetic comments about the Ku Klux Klan, to calling black staffers, “boy,” to a deeply anti-immigrant stance, it is unclear to many that Senator Sessions will be able to apply the laws of the United States without prejudice as the top ranking official in the U.S. Justice Department.

Senator Sessions has already faced the Senate Judiciary Committee during the presidency of Ronald Reagan, when he was seeking a federal judgeship, and was ultimately denied this post in an extremely rare occasion of the Senate shooting down a presidential nomination.