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Sen. Sessions once again invites anti-immigrant groups to testify before Congress

Imagine2050 Staff • Feb 23, 2016

On Thursday, February 25, Sen. Jeff Sessions’ (R-AL) Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest will hold a hearing to examine the “impact of high-skilled immigration on U.S. workers.”

The hearing is simply the latest in which Sessions has used his position as subcommittee chairman to offer a platform for representatives from the organized anti-immigrant movement. Sessions became chairman of the immigration subcommittee last January.

While Congress rightfully should examine the impacts on workers of the policies it implements, tomorrow’s hearing should come under just as much scrutiny. As Imagine 2050 has noted, Sessions has “next-to-no interest in defending workers unless he can scapegoat immigrants in the process.”

Anti-immigrant groups have been more than willing to coordinate with Sessions and amplify their shared message with six-figure ad buys across the country and during presidential debates. These groups also issue action alerts calling on their thousands of members to support nativist measures championed by Sessions and others in Washington.

The hearing Thursday will feature testimony from two individuals with ties to anti-immigrant groups, including the anti-immigrant movement’s flagship organization, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

Former Disney employee Leo Perrero has been announced as a witness at the hearing; he was featured in a television advertisement FAIR produced and aired in Florida last month. Perrero’s attorney, Sara Blackwell, was featured in similar video produced by FAIR. Blackwell also lobbied lawmakers with representatives from the grassroots anti-immigrant group NumbersUSA in Washington, DC last September.

John Miano, the other witness, is an attorney with FAIR’s legal affiliate, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI). Miano is litigating two lawsuits focusing on work authorization and guest workers in science and technology fields. Miano is also a fellow with the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), which began in 1985 as a project of FAIR. Miano previously testified before the full Senate Judiciary Committee in March 2015.

Perrero and Miano last shared a stage during a November 2015 panel discussion organized by CIS. The panel was organized to promote a new book co-authored by Miano and right wing commentator Michelle Malkin.

Since the beginning of the 114th Congress in January 2015, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have held ten hearings directly pertaining to immigration policy. Of those, five featured witness testimony of individuals with direct ties to anti-immigrant groups.

As long as extremist groups like FAIR and CIS have a champion like Jeff Sessions in powerful committee positions, that trend is sure to continue.

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