Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, is concealing the fact that he received an award from fervently anti-immigrant group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
In a questionnaire submitted to Senate Judiciary Committee members, Sessions listed numerous “honors and awards” dating back to 1998. Conspicuously absent from the list is an award Sessions received from FAIR in 2007.
Sessions’s omission of the FAIR award is more glaring considering he disclosed honors received from other nativist groups including the Eagle Forum, NumbersUSA, David Horowitz Freedom Center, and Center for Security Policy.
In September 2007, Sessions was the keynote speaker at FAIR’s national board of advisors meeting. FAIR honored Sessions with its “Franklin Society award,” which the group says it gives to “rare individuals who have made a real difference” in advancing an agenda aligning with FAIR’s extreme anti-immigrant stances.
According to FAIR’s November 2007 newsletter, Sessions “acknowledged the critical role that FAIR” played in mobilizing opposition to meaningful immigration reform measures and “publicly thanked” the group, which was founded in 1979 by John Tanton, a known white nationalist and proponent of eugenics.
FAIR’s current president, Dan Stein, has also expressed racist sentiments. He has described the repeal of racist immigration quotas from the 1920s as a “great way to retaliate against Anglo-Saxon dominance” and a form of “revenge” that will “will continue to create chaos down the line.” Stein has also described President Obama’s attempt to offer temporary deportation relief to some undocumented immigrants as an effort “to re-engineer this society” that “will make the nation ungovernable.”
Yesterday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) noted in a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) that Sessions “failed to provide the Committee with numerous speeches,” including the one given at FAIR’s 2007 advisory board meeting. Feinstein’s letter does not, however, express concern for the FAIR award from said meeting that Sessions failed to disclose.
Sessions’s failure to disclose the speech and accompanying honor from FAIR is either negligent or an explicit attempt to deceive. This failure, and the fact that a group like FAIR chose honor him, should not be overlooked by senators deciding whether to approve or deny his nomination for Attorney General.