Immigration, Voting Rights Record Could Stall Obama Labor Nominee

An independent inspector general report says that the department acted properly in narrowing the charges. The report found that Perez gave "incomplete testimony" to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, when he said that political appointees were not involved in the process to dismiss the charges.

The report found that Perez did not "intentionally" mislead the commission, but it said that he should have sought more details as a department witness. At least two political appointees were involved in the decision to dismiss.

Other GOP senators have echoed Vitter's criticism. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the senior Republican on the judiciary committee, said in a statement that Perez was "woefully unprepared to answer questions in front of the Civil Rights Commission on a subject matter he told the Inspector General he expected questions on."

At least one other GOP senator has taken issue with Perez's positions on immigration reform. In the Justice Department, he helped lead a racial discrimination lawsuit against Joe Arpaio, the sheriff of Arizona's Maricopa County, and he launched an investigation into an Alabama immigration law, examining whether it negatively affected immigrant-worker pay and school participation.

As labor secretary, he could play an influential role in the ongoing debate over comprehensive immigration reform as Congress considers a bill that seeks to tackle the future flow of immigrant workers and could potentially include a temporary worker program.

"The top priority of the Secretary of Labor should be to create jobs and higher wages for American workers. But Mr. Perez has aggressively sought ways to allow the hiring of more illegal workers," Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), a member of the Judiciary committee and a staunch immigration hawk, said in a statement. "It is plain that if the policies of Mr. Perez were to be enacted, jobs for Americans would be harder to come by and wages lower."

Perez's nomination came on the same day as a report commissioned by the Republican National Committee urged GOPers to take a less strident tone on the issue of immigration reform. But some senators, such as Sessions, appear committed to bringing up the issue during the confirmation process.

"We need a Secretary of Labor who fights to create jobs for American workers, not one that undermines legal work requirements," he said. "It is plain that if the policies of Mr. Perez were to be enacted, jobs for Americans would be harder to come by and wages lower. He is the wrong man for this job."

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