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The Most Anti-Immigrant Republicans Coming to the RNC

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With the news that Maricopa County’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio will be attending next week’s Republican National Convention, we have compiled a list of convention guests and delegates whose positions on immigration could be described as bad, worse, and worser.  As talk show host Carlos Galindo reacted to the Sheriff Arpaio news on Daily Kos:

What would possess you to invite Sheriff Joe to speak at the Republican convention? Especially knowing he’s currently a lightning rod for civil rights lawsuits and fed intervention. Keep in mind that there are serious allegations of racial profiling against Arpaio and MCSO. Is this how the GOP attracts minorities to the party?

Here’s our list of some of the worst people on immigration who are attending the Republican Convention:

1.  Sheriff Joe Arpaio – The infamous rogue lawman is currently wrapping up one trial on his racial profiling practices and is awaiting a second lawsuit from the Department of Justice.  The “rap sheet,” so to speak, on him is so long it’s earned him multiple longread profiles: he continues to maintain that President Obama’s birth certificate is forged; takes pride in “tent cities” for prisoners where temperatures regularly soar up to 110 degrees; forced pregnant women to give birth while handcuffed to a bed; used his powers to intimidate and indict political opponents; allowed violent crime rates to rise in Maricopa County at a time when the rate fell in other Arizona counties;  misspent $100 million in taxpayer funds; neglected to investigate 400 sex crimes cases…the list goes on.

2.  Governor Jan Brewer – the Arizona Governor is famous for signing SB 1070, the first in a recent spate of state anti-immigrant laws, and famously faced off with President Obama when he came to visit Arizona following the publication of her political memoir “Scorpions for Breakfast.”  Just last week, on the day that tens of thousands of DREAMers lined up around the country to begin requesting deferred action, she handed down an executive order prohibiting immigrant youth in Arizona from receiving state services like driver’s licenses—a move that commentators called “plain mean-spirited,” “vindictive,” “hateful,” and “target[ing] young people to create a political point.”

3.  Kris Kobach – the Kansas Secretary of State and (on the DL) immigration advisor for Mitt Romney, Kobach is the architect of state anti-immigrant laws like Arizona’s SB 1070 and Alabama’s HB 56.  He’s of counsel with the Immigration Law Reform Institute, the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform—which the Southern Poverty Law Center designates a hate group.  And he meets with (and has similar goals as) the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group which pairs up lawmakers and corporate interests so that bills advocating private prisonsprivate schools, and the growth of the immigrant detention industry (among other things) can be shopped out to individual states receptive to passing them.  He’s apparently already stirring up trouble at the RNC, reportedly becoming a key player in this week’s Republican platform debate, where he pushed for more SB 1070-like legislation and language opposing Shariah law.

4.  Former Governor Pete Wilson – the former Governor of California is another Mitt Romney immigration advisor, who is perhaps most famous for single-handedly turning California into a deep blue state with his push for the passage of Proposition 187 – the original, super-harsh 1994 state anti-immigrant law that barred undocumented immigrants from all public services (including health care and education) and was struck down in 1997.  For this record, Governor Wilson is still known in certain circles as “El Diablo.”

5.  Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) — Sen. Cornyn is not only terrible on immigration, he’s hypocritical about it, so much so that we’ve awarded him our “Biggest Hypocrite on Immigration” award.  Time and time again, he’s painted himself as an ardent supporter of immigration reform while constantly working to derail the issue and voting the wrong way on it every time a bill comes up.  That’s because he’s basically the most craven kind of politician there is: Latino voters in Texas have grown 63% since 2000 and are the single greatest reason why Texas just gained four House seats.  They want real progress on immigration reform, so Cornyn talks the talk at them.  But he doesn’t walk the walk.

He voted no on a 2006 comprehensive immigration reform bill, no on a 2007 immigration reform bill (keep in mind these were supported by a Republican administration),  voted for a 2006 amendment prohibiting guest workers from obtaining legal permanent resident status, endorses a border fence, and supports the massive government legal-worker database known as E-Verify.  More perniciously, he actively worked to torpedo a 2005 attempt at immigration reform, teaming up with Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) to introduce a competing immigration reform bill that had no chance of passing, but did succeed in blocking progress on real immigration reform that year.

He seems to particularly have it out for the DREAM Act, calling it a “political football” and a “cynical effort to use the hopes and dreams of these young people as a political wedge in the runup to the 2012 election.”  He voted against it when it came to the Senate floor in late 2010, and said that “unlike some of my colleagues, I don’t believe it’s helpful to introduce an immigration bill that has no chance of passage.”  (The bill failed by five votes.  If you had voted for it, Senator Cornyn, IT MIGHT HAVE PASSED.)

And then he has the gall to keep talking about how the GOP needs an immigration plan, that Republicans risk losing Hispanic votes by a wide margin, that “we can’t simply kick the can down the road,” and that his “commitment to fix our broken [immigration] system has not wavered.”

6.  Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)—speaking of rank hypocrisy, there’s Louisiana’s junior Senator David Vitter, who became notorious in 2007 after his phone number turned up in the records of the “DC Madam” escort service.

After he was busted in the scandal, prosecutors chose not to go after him and pursue charges, engaging in an exercise of triage and choice known as prosecutorial discretion.  But in July 2011, Vitter sponsored a bill called the HALT Act, which sought to block President Obama’s powers of—you guessed it—prosecutorial discretion, as it relates to how the President can set deportation priorities for criminal and non-criminal immigrants.  This “only I can benefit” attitude led to Vitter being chewed out by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), who accused Vitter of “hypocrisy to seek to limit the use of discretion when one has enjoyed the benefit himself.”

There’s more: in January 2011, he worked with paragon of moderation Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to introduce a resolution scrapping the 14th Amendment and birthright citizenship – a move so extreme it gained zero co-sponsors.  In 2010 we awarded him “the most racist ad of 2010” for a political advertisement he released filled with “Hollywood stereotypes, caricature-types of Latino workers.”  The ad ends with the “stereotypical” immigrants pulling away in a limo while holding an over-sized welfare check, and so infuriated the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce that they demanded the immediate pulling of the ad.  Finally, in 2009, he and Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT) co-sponsored an amendment that sought to tack a citizenship question onto the 2010 census—a move that would have wasted $7 billion on the Census preparation that had already occurred.

We haven’t even gotten to his legislative record yet.  Vitter voted no on comprehensive immigration reform in 2006, no on comprehensive immigration reform in 2007, no on the DREAM Act in 2010, yes on a 2006 vote pushing for a border fence, yes on a 2006 amendment prohibiting guest workers from obtaining legal permanent resident status, and yes to a 2004 plan to report undocumented immigrants in need of hospital treatment.  For these “accomplishments,” he is rated 100% by the hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform.

7.  Governor Susana Martinez – the Latina Governor of New Mexico ran on a platform of repealing a decade-old law allowing undocumented immigrants in New Mexico to obtain driver’s licenses, despite knowing that her own grandparents came to the US without documents.

8.  Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) – the senior Senator from Iowa is one of the nation’s most anti-immigrant politicians, regularly voting for positions that consistently earn him an “A” grade from groups like the restrictionist NumbersUSA.  He voted no on a 2006 comprehensive immigration reform bill, voted no on a 2007 reform bill, voted for a 2006 amendment prohibiting guest workers from obtaining legal permanent resident status, endorses a border fence, and supports the massive government legal-worker database known as E-Verify.  He – like Sen. Vitter – also supports repealing the 14th Amendment and doing away with birthright citizenship, a position that makes them both even more anti-immigrant than extremist Lou Dobbs.


With this lineup, good luck to the Republicans in winning any part of the Latino vote.