Rep. David Valadao (CA-22) provided a critical vote to help deliver the passage of H.R. 2, also known as the Child Deportation Act, in early May 2023. The bill is not a serious policy proposal for addressing the challenges at the border. It’s all politics that is far too often laced with rhetorical echos of white nationalist conspiracies that create the climate for hate-fueled violence.
Over the months where it wound its way through the House and from the very beginning of the debate over the Child Deportation Act on the House floor, Valadao’s Republican colleagues promoted the bill with white nationalist conspiracy theories about “replacement” and “invasion” that have inspired multiple domestic terrorist attacks.
Rep. Valadao has pitched himself as a pro-immigrant voice, touting in campaign ads that he “stood up to his own party to reform immigration and protect Dreamers,” we noted in 2021. If there was ever a time to stand up to his own party and defend immigrants, this was it.
Instead, Valadao sided with the extremists and obstructionists. Valadao provided a critical vote to gut asylum, increase child and family detention, and create a show-me-your-papers scenario in the midst of future natural disaster relief efforts. Beyond cruelty, this bill does nothing to create solutions. Its centerpiece is, again, Trump’s wasteful and ineffective wall. Meanwhile, the GOP legislation would destroy legal pathways, including parole programs that create new legal pathways to the U.S. that alleviate pressures at the border.
“Many industries in the Central Valley, including agriculture, rely heavily on immigrant labor. While these workers play an essential role in feeding America, many of them live in fear because of our broken immigration system,” Valadao said in a statement attempting to justify his vote on this extreme piece of legislation. But instead of standing up to his party and working to deliver solutions that would eliminate that fear and improve the agricultural economy that the US relies on helped pass legislation that would only serve to create more chaos and fear.
Actions speak louder than words, and Valadao chose party over the communities and businesses he represents.