Rep. Mike Lawler (NY-17) 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, Lawler’s Republican colleagues promoted the bill with white nationalist conspiracy theories about “replacement” and “invasion” that have inspired multiple domestic terrorist attacks.
In response to recent migrant arrivals in his state, Lawler said that we “can’t lose sight of the human side of this problem. Thousands upon thousands of immigrants, including children, risking it all because they see America as their last hope for freedom and opportunity.” But in supporting H.R. 2 and its anti-asylum measures Lawler turned his back on the very children and families he purported to defend earlier this year
In his statement supporting H.R. 2, Lawler named the fact that his wife is an immigrant but tried to justify his support for the bill by peddling the debunked and pernicious myth about a supposed “open border.”
Lawler sided with the extremists and obstructionists. Lawler 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.
Actions speak louder than words, and Lawler chose party over the communities and businesses he represents.