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On the very day that the Republican National Committee tried to distance itself from its anti-immigrant record, Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions said of President Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Labor, Tom Perez:
His views on illegal immigration are far outside the mainstream. Mr. Perez previously served as the President of the Board of Casa de Maryland, a fringe advocacy group that has instructed illegal immigrants on how to escape detection, and also promoted illegal labor sites and driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants.
Where to begin?
Senator Sessions has come to define being out of the mainstream on immigration. For years, he’s been one of the nastiest anti-immigrant voices in Congress. But the world has changed around him. In fact, Jeff Sessions position on immigration have caused enormous political problems for the Republican Party. He’s palled around with the progeny of the anti-immigrant zealot, John Tanton, associating with FAIR, NumbersUSA and the Center for Immigration Studies. In fact, FAIR, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated a hate group, gave Sessions its “Defender of the Rule of Law” award back in 2008. As we documented in our April 2009 backgrounder, “Sessions has close relations with the three leading anti-immigrant groups: the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), NumbersUSA and the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR.) He often quotes their work and regularly appears at their events.”
CIS and FAIR are strong proponents of “self-deportation.” Sessions is a firm believer in that policy and welcomed the havoc Alabama’s notorious HB 56 wreaked on immigrant families in the state. Today, even the RNC rejected that policy:
If Hispanic Americans perceive that a GOP nominee or candidate does not want them in the United States (i.e. self-deportation), they will not pay attention to our next sentence. It does not matter what we say about education, jobs or the economy; if Hispanics think we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our policies.
Now, keep in mind, as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sessions will play a key role in the upcoming immigration reform. As we’ve noted many times, a bipartisan group of Senators is working on real reform that includes a path to citizenship. No doubt, Sessions will again do the bidding for the Tanton groups and try to stop progress. But he’s becoming more and more isolated by the day.
When Senator Sessions wants to know who is very far out of the mainstream on immigration, he really just needs to look in the mirror.