Will Senate GOP Really Turn Critical Hearing on Attorney General Nominee into Anti-Immigrant Brawl?
In Congress and on the campaign trail, Republicans have been busy in the new year burnishing their anti-immigrant brand image. In Washington, most of the anti-immigration action has taken place in the House of Representatives, where the GOP passed legislation straight from the top of the restrictionists’ wish list, including proposals that block the sensible and legal immigration actions announced by the President last November, end the DACA program for DREAMers, and maximize the deportation of all undocumented immigrants in America.
On the other side of the Capitol, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are preparing to turn the Attorney General confirmation hearings into yet another anti-immigration slugfest. Rather than focusing on Loretta Lynch’s qualifications to serve as the next Attorney General for the United States, they are planning to spend much of their time criticizing President Obama’s actions on immigration.
Of course this should surprise no one, since the Republican side of the Senate Judiciary Committee is now stacked with hardliners who have promised to make immigration a dominant focus of the proceedings.
According to Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice:
It’s safe to say that Republicans in Congress are obsessed with immigration. With all of the issues facing the nation today—terrorism, cybercrime, individual liberties, the role of law enforcement in communities, and so much more—Republicans’ decision to turn the Attorney General confirmation hearings into another anti-immigration press conference is just as irresponsible as it is reprehensible.
It is difficult to predict which Republican Senator will express his anti-immigration obsession the most colorfully, and earn the most headlines. There certainly are a lot of contenders on the Committee, such as:
- Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who was in favor of executive action before he then was against it.
- The new Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration, Senator Jeff Sessions(R-AL) – a ringleader in trying to end the DACA program for DREAMers, a close ally of the Tanton-affiliated network of anti-immigrant network organizations, and a champion of both anti-immigrant policy and anti-immigrant rhetoric.
- Senator David Vitter (R-LA), the Vice Chair of the Immigration Subcommittee, who has benefitted from a legal reprieve in his own life and is obsessed with amending the constitution to end birthright citizenship.
- Or Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) who, following in his colleague’s footsteps, signed himself up as one of the first cosponsors of Vitter’s bill to end birthright citizenship.
- Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), the upper chamber’s biggest hypocrite on immigration, has consistently labeled himself an immigration reformer while drafting laws and voting on policies that block reform and hurt immigrant communities.
- Or maybe it will be Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), who has helped drive the GOP’s opposition to immigration executive action, has pledged to focus on immigration during the Lynch hearing, and has called ending the DACA program for Dreamers his “top priority.”
“It seems that Republicans in Congress don’t feel they have sufficiently alienated voters who care about immigration reform. They have to turn every occasion—no matter how important—into an opportunity to attack President Obama on immigration. It’s a level of obsession that cries out for an intervention,” said Tramonte.