This week, as the GOP and right-wing media tried to stir up as much fear as they could with the end of Title 42, Republicans in the House passed H.R. 2, an anti-immigrant bill that perfectly encapsulates the party’s descent into extremism.
As America’s Voice executive director Vanessa Cardenas put it, “it’s a grab bag of cruel and unworkable policies at odds with the national interest and it’s more about political attack ads and MAGA fundraising than real solutions.”
Amid the wall to wall coverage from the border region, where images of desperate human beings were being used to foment fear and anger among the right-wing’s base, Republicans in the House took the opportunity to again dehumanize and push dangerous “invasion” rhetoric that they know has led to real-world violence, including in Texas.
In a revealing moment outlining the House Majority’s driving motivation behind H.R. 2, Rep. Tom McClintock of California initiated the debate by invoking the white nationalist great replacement conspiracy theory, followed by at least six other Republican Members who did the same.
Starting off today ahead of the Child Detention Act (HR2) vote @RepMcClintock uses the halls of congress to echo white nationalist great replacement conspiracy theory directly linked to multiple domestic terrorist attacks as he warns of a so-called "invasion" pic.twitter.com/9jsDnxUKPn
— Zachary.A.Mueller (@ZacharyAMueller) May 11, 2023
But even as Republicans continued to raise the temperature on the debate, with Members giving House floor speeches repeating white nationalist talking points, Democrats held firm as all Members voted against the measure, which still passed the GOP-led House.
There are eleven members of Congress who represent districts along our southern border: seven Democrats and four Republicans. All four of the GOP Members who represent the border voted for the bill, despite several of them citing its flaws, and with no pushback to their colleagues in the GOP whose rhetoric creates more danger and uncertainty in their districts.
And among the Democrats, those seven Members who represent border districts and who understand the issues affecting border communities and their residents, all voted against the bill. That includes the three Democrats along the Texas border, Reps. Escobar, Cuellar and Gonzalez; New Mexico’s Rep. Gabe Vasquez, whose district covers the entire New Mexico/Mexico border, Rep. Raúl Grijalva from Arizona, and, in California, Reps. Juan Vargas and Raul Ruiz.
Here's why I'm voting NO on HR2 – an extreme, anti-immigrant bill. pic.twitter.com/tHCenySsQO
— Rep. Gabe Vasquez (@RepGabeVasquez) May 11, 2023
Across the board, Democrats called out the cynical and divisive politics behind H.R. 2 and called for real substantive reforms that are desperately needed to improve our country’s immigration system. Here are few additional examples of some of the powerful push back we saw from the House floor yesterday from Representatives Chuy García (D-IL), Maxwell Frost (D-FL), Greg Casar (D-TX) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA):
Migrants make the journey through rivers and jungles, on trucks and trains. They make the journey out of desperation and fear.
I spoke out against H.R.2, the cruelest anti-immigrant bill in a long time.
We need an immigration system rooted in compassion, not a bill like this. pic.twitter.com/Z7oyRjoEnO
— Congressman Chuy García (@RepChuyGarcia) May 11, 2023
"This bill is a rerun of Donald Trump's biggest failures and inhumane border policies. This is the Child Deportation Act because that's exactly what this does. It doesn't address any single issue at the border." – @RepMaxwellFrost on Republicans' immigration bill pic.twitter.com/c1Xr789RsR
— America's Voice (@AmericasVoice) May 11, 2023
🎥 WATCH: I debated Republicans' latest cruel, extreme, anti-immigrant bill, HR 2, on the House Floor today.
Migrants sleeping on the streets of Texas may be a better shot for the Fox News cameras, but it’s a much worse deal for everyday people. We must do better. pic.twitter.com/piKdhhUmnu
— Congressman Greg Casar (@RepCasar) May 11, 2023
We need an immigration strategy that upholds our values – one that welcomes people and is the very essence of what America stands for. pic.twitter.com/y4Q41cIorz
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) May 12, 2023
It’s important that Democrats continue outlining a different way forward, one with workable solutions that are supported by the majority of Americans. We can have a welcoming, humane, and fair immigration system that upholds our values and not resort to the deadly fear-mongering pushed by a Republican Party uninterested in solutions and committed instead to crisis, chaos and cruelty.