The Corner

Sessions’ Opponents Are Getting Desperate

Democrats trying to derail the confirmation of Sen. Jeff Sessions as Attorney General have never had much to work with. But HuffPo’s latest smear would be a joke if it weren’t directed at such an upright man.

Some background: Even when the Senate denied him a federal judgeship in 1986 in the dress rehearsal for the anti-Bork campaign the following year, Ted Kennedy had nothing of substance. The chief critic charging Sessions with racism back then was subsequently sanctioned in federal court – for making up charges of racism. The KKK joke Sessions told is the Klan equivalent of “I was all for the ISIS until I heard there was no bacon!” (When he told the joke he was in the process of having the head of the Klan in Alabama put to death for murder.) And decades ago he once said the ACLU and NAACP were “un-American” and “communist-inspired” – that’s a reach for the NAACP (though Du Bois was, in fact, a fellow-traveler who later joined the Party), but the ACLU was actually founded by communists – in any case, this is hardly disqualifying or even remarkable.

These flimsy smears were enough to get Sen. Arlen Specter to side with the Democrats and vote against Sessions in committee, dooming his judicial nomination – emboldening Kennedy to go after Bork a year later. This time around, liberal Republican Sen. Susan Collins has shown herself to be more of a man than Specter ever was and has already endorsed Sessions, as have Gang of Eighters Flake and Graham and Democrat Manchin.

In trying to come up with some new smear, Sam Stein and Amanda Terkel of the Huffington Post published a piece over the weekend entitled “Donald Trump’s Attorney General Nominee Wrote Off Nearly All Immigrants From An Entire Country”, the country being the Dominican Republic. The suggestion is that Sessions denigrated Dominicans as people, to reinforce the bogus racism narrative.

But Stein and Terkel made the mistake of posting the two-minute clip from a 2006 Senate floor debate on immigration that they based their piece on. Rather than “castigat[ing] a subset of Latino immigrants as useless to American society”, Sessions merely pointed out that an immigration system selecting immigrants based on family connections doesn’t take their skills and education into account. Sessions quoted a U.S. consular officer in the D.R. who described widespread marriage fraud there and told him that 95 percent of Dominican immigrants come here under the family chain-migration categories. (In 2014 it was 99 percent.) Based on this, Sessions observed that “Almost no one coming from the Dominican Republic to the United States is coming here because they have a provable skill that would benefit us and would indicate their likely success in our society.”

That’s it. That’s the whole thing – a simple statement of fact, checkable by any reporter with an internet connection. But…but, Stein and Terkel sputter, Oscar de la Renta is Dominican! Of course, that’s irrelevant to Sessions’ point that nepotism is no basis for a system of immigration. And 10 seconds of googling would have shown these reporters the results of what Sessions was critiquing: 30 percent of Dominican immigrants are high school dropouts (for context, that’s six times the rate of Filipinos), 57 percent of Dominicans and their young U.S.-born kids are in or near poverty, and fully 70 percent of Dominican-headed households use at least one welfare program.

Sessions’ first confirmation hearing, 30 years ago, ended in tragedy. The Democrat attempt at repeating their success is already a farce.