Rep. Tony Gonzales (TX-23) 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, Gonzales’ Republican colleagues promoted the bill with white nationalist conspiracy theories about “replacement” and “invasion” that have inspired multiple domestic terrorist attacks.
Gonzales got a lot of press attention by vocally opposing his party on anti-immigrant proposals, this year challenging fellow Republican Chip Roy on an anti-asylum proposal that would even block unaccompanied migrant children from seeking protections. Gonzales slammed the proposal as “not Christian” and “anti-American.” He went even further in a tweet, adding that “Anyone who thinks a 3 page anti-immigration bill with 0% chance of getting signed into law is going to solve the border crisis should be buying beach front property in AZ.”
“I’m not this crazy, extremist Republican,” Gonzales said earlier this year. “I’m jumping up and down, pushing against my party when I think it’s right, looking for ways to solve problems.” If he’s truly solutions-focused, this bill isn’t it. But apparently, it’s just all bark, no bite, as he caved and provided the critical support H.R. 2 needed to pass.
Gonzales sided with the extremists and obstructionists. Gonzales 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 Gonzales chose party over the communities and businesses he represents.