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Quite the Monday for GOP Latino Outreach: Sen. Jeff Sessions Dishonors Cesar Chavez & Praises Anti-Immigrant Group’s “Research”

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It was quite the busy Monday for the Senate’s leading anti-immigrant member, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL).  By objecting to a Senate resolution honoring Latino civil rights hero Cesar Chavez and touting the shoddy “research” of allied anti-immigrant organization the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), Sen. Sessions offered a fresh reminder of how the extreme, anti-immigrant wing of the Republican Party will continue to define the GOP to Latino voters and fill the vacuum left by Republican inaction on immigration reform.

Last evening, Sen. Sessions objected to a resolution honoring Latino civil rights leader Cesar Chavez after Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) asked unanimous consent to move it forward in the U.S. Senate.  In response, Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) asked, “How can they look back at the sacrifices Cesar Chavez made for our country and fail to recognize the accomplishments of this great American Hero?”

Earlier that day, Sen. Sessions breathlessly lifted up new “research” from anti-immigrant organization Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), saying that CIS had demonstrated that “immigration enforcement in America has collapsed.”  Unsurprisingly given CIS’s anti-immigrant roots and associations, the study isn’t viewed as credible by actual immigration policy experts.  For example, the American Immigration Council coolly dissected the methodological shortcomings and shoddy conclusions of the CIS study here.  Keep in mind, CIS is the same organization whose senior policy analyst Stephen Steinlight said that Senate’s immigration proposal “amounts to a plot against America,” and warned that it if it were to pass, America will “be balkanized along ethnic and cultural lines and lose its cohesion.”  Most disturbingly, in regards to the many religious leaders of many faiths who support immigration reform, Steinlight said, “God help me, find a baseball bat, there would be a whole lot fewer of them around.”

According to Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice:

By blocking the resolution honoring Cesar Chavez, Sessions has proven that he’s not just anti-immigrant and anti-worker, but anti-Latino and anti-American.  He has a casual relationship with the facts, a cozy relationship with the Center for Immigration Studies, and zero credibility with most thinking people.  So why is it that the Republican Party continues to let him and his buddy in the House, Steve King, define them before millions of Latino, Asian, and immigrant voters?  Sessions and King are filling the vacuum left by House GOP inaction, with dangerous implications for the GOP’s electoral prospects in 2014 and 2016—not to mention our national character.