Update: Right now, Sessions and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) are tag-teaming about the virtue of legal immigrants versus those who are undocumented immigrants. Funny, because earlier this week a Sessions staffer, Danielle Cutrona was on a NumbersUSA call where a speaker came out against LEGAL immigration. It looks like we’re in for a lot of hypocrisy this morning…
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) was on the Senate floor this morning, railing against the Gang of 8 immigration reform bill and going on a rampage against groups like America’s Voice, NCLR, and AILA. To him, groups supporting immigration reform are all “special interests”—which is interesting, considering that below is a picture of a special interest whispering in his ear:
That’s Janice Kephart during one of the early days of the Senate Judiciary Committee markup last month. She’s formerly the Director of National Security Policy for the anti-immigrant group Center for Immigration Studies, and is now Special Counsel on Temporary Assignment to the Senate Judiciary Committee — whatever that means.
Let’s make that more clear: Janice Kephart used to be a staffer for the very anti-immigrant, very special interest Center for Immigration Studies. In April she actually testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, alongside her CIS colleague Steven Camarota and ICE Union president Chris Crane. And now she literally has Jeff Sessions’ ear. Since CIS vehemently opposes immigration, including legal immigration, it’s the kind of special interest that’s near and dear to Sessions.
That’s just the start. Jeff Sessions has a long history with special interest groups, particularly anti-immigrant groups from the Tanton network, like CIS, NumbersUSA, and the hate group FAIR. They were all founded or supported by John Tanton, a white nationalist and population control advocate. And Sessions is very, very chummy with these groups. As we wrote about some of his connections earlier this week:
Sessions has long had a cozy relationship with these groups: after immigration reform legislation was defeated in 2006-2007, NumbersUSA awarded Sessions their Defender of the Rule of Law award for his work in killing the bill. NumbersUSA and CIS’ sibling organization, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (or FAIR, which has been designated a hate group), gave Sessions their Franklin Society award, feted him at a board of advisors meeting, and made him the keynote speaker at their dinner. NumbersUSA and FAIR have both released multiple press statements in the past specifically to commend Sessions for his anti-immigrant work; a FAIR Newsletter in 2007 wrote that “no one played a more important and more public role in defeating” that year’s immigration bill.
And Sessions has been happy to return the favor: in 2012, Sessions took to the Senate floor to enter a statement into the Congressional Record commemorating NumbersUSA’s 15th anniversary, saying, “I congratulate [NumbersUSA] on a successful first 15 years and wish them even greater success over its next 15 years.” Tom Tancredo once did that too—and he’s an extremely anti-immigrant former Congressman who once called Miami a “third world country.” Now that Tancredo is no longer in office (though he is running for Governor of Colorado), we’re pretty sure that Jeff Sessions is NumbersUSA/CIS/FAIR’s very favorite member of Congress.