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Senate Dems press Sessions for records on racial discrimination complaints

Senate Dems press Sessions for records on racial discrimination complaints
© Greg Nash

Twenty-one Senate Democrats signed a letter to Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsBeto O'Rourke on impeachment: 'There is enough there to proceed' Rosenstein to appear for House interview next week Emmet Flood steps in as White House counsel following McGahn departure MORE on Tuesday demanding that he turn over a list of racial discrimination complaints in schools received since 2016.

The group, led by the ranking members of the Senate committees on the Judiciary and on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, called on Sessions to provide all reports of racial discrimination in "elementary, secondary, and postsecondary institutions" that have been received by the Justice Department since Jan. 1, 2016.

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"With almost daily attacks from your Administration on the protections for immigrants, women, children, people of color, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault, and LGBTQ students, it is clear there is a coordinated and systematic effort to undermine the law, divide communities, and destabilize American values at every level and in every community," the senators accused.

"Has the Department's enforcement guidance to field staff regarding race-based complaints changed?" the letter continues. "Please provide all communications to field staff since January 1,2017 involving complaints of discrimination based on race."

The group, led by Sens. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care: House passes funding bill | Congress gets deal on opioids package | 80K people died in US from flu last winter Wilkie vows no 'inappropriate influence' at VA Dems push back on using federal funds to arm teachers MORE (D-Wash.) and Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSen. Walter Huddleston was a reminder that immigration used to be a bipartisan issue GOP plays hardball in race to confirm Trump's court picks Feinstein would 'absolutely' reopen Kavanaugh investigation if Dems win Senate MORE (D-Calif.), also attacked Sessions's decision to rescind Obama-era guidelines on school integration and affirmative action, calling integration a vital process for U.S. schools.

"Instead of leaving in place these important explanations of current law, the Trump Administration has chosen to turn its back on students of color by abruptly withdrawing these guidance documents," they wrote.

The letter follows the Trump administration's move to rescind guidelines promoting the use of race in campus admissions to promote diversity on college campuses. The move was previously criticized by the Congressional Black Caucus, which called it an effort to “turn back the clock” on efforts to encourage diversity.

“Yet again we see that this administration's goal and vision for ‘Making America Great Again’ is to reduce the role of the state in making sure our society prizes diversity and inclusion,” the caucus's chairman, Rep. Cedric RichmondCedric Levon RichmondWorking together to improve diversity and inclusion State Department: Allegations of racism 'disgusting and false' Congressional Black Caucus says Kavanaugh would weaken Voting Rights Act protections MORE (D-La.), said in a statement.

“While I am not surprised, I continue to be disappointed that the President of this great country demonstrably cares so little for its non-white residents and their interests."