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Latest Hearings Reveal Nativist Colors of the GOP on Immigration

by Van Le on 03/11/2011 at 2:38pm

elton gallegly, steve king, lamar smithHouse Republicans really let their nativist flag fly yesterday with simultaneous hearings on “New Jobs in Recession and Recovery: Who Are Getting Them and Who Are Not” (or rather: “Why Immigrants are Supposedly Recovering from the Recession Faster than Natives and What We Can Do to Make Sure They Don’t Get Jobs”) and “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response.” 

America’s Voice covered the former, which started out with the Three Amigos Reps. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Elton Gallegly (R-CA), and Steve King (R-IA) trying to state for the record that they are all for “legal” immigration, and only opposed to “illegal” immigration—while not-so-credible groups they called to testify proceeded to spend the next ninety minutes talking about why we should halt even legal immigration.

So, Immigration Subcommittee Republicans: if you didn’t want to pit immigrant workers against the native born, and if you didn’t want to inflame this country’s racial and economic tensions even further, why exactly did you hold a hearing entitled “Jobs in Recession and Recovery: Who Are Getting Them and Who Are Not,” and try to package a xenophobic hatred of all immigrants as an economic recovery proposal?

After the hearing, we hammered back against their messaging on a press call. Here’s what our allies said:

Karen K. Narasaki, President and Executive Director of the Asian American Justice Center:

Today’s hearing clearly illustrates that the Republican leadership of the House Judiciary Committee is more interested in playing divisive politics than doing what’s best for our families, communities and economy by undertaking the real work of moving workable and fair immigration reform.  Witnesses for the Republican members sought to blame all foreign-born workers, including legal immigrants – many of whom are U.S. citizens – for unemployment among native-born workers.  Playing to such nativist fears has proven to be repeatedly wrong throughout our history as a nation.

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