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Tomorrow: Another HJC Hearing, Another Set of Tanton Network Witnesses

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When Republicans want to hear “expert” testimony on anti-immigrant views, there is apparently only shop in town: the John Tanton network.  Tanton, of course, is the white nationalist who founded or helped found three key anti-immigrant groups, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (or FAIR, a hate group), the Center for Immigration Studies (the think tank), and NumbersUSA (the field lobby).  And when Congressional Republicans need someone anti-immigrant to testify at one of their hearings, about as often as not it is someone from one of these three groups.

Tomorrow, for example, the House Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing called “Examining the Adequacy and Enforcement of Our Nation’s Immigration Laws“.  The Democratic minority has invited Marc Rosenblum of the Migration Policy Institute as their single witness.  And the Republicans have invited:

  • Paul Babeu, Sheriff of Pinal County, Arizona — this anti-immigrant sheriff became famous in 2012 after reportedly threatening his ex-lover with deportation after the latter refused to promise never to disclose their years-long relationship.  We last saw him in December, when he was in town for an anti-immigrant sheriff’s gathering led by Thomas Hodgson, a sheriff associated with FAIR.  Tomorrow, Babeu is expected to make the fear-mongering case that undocumented immigrant criminals are “heading to your neighborhoods.”
  • Jan Ting, CIS — Ting is a board member for CIS, and has been a frequent anti-immigrant witness.  He’s called Obama’s executive action an “executive fiat” that will lead to a “lawless society” and — echoing the group he works for — questioned how many immigrants (undocumented and legal) we want in this country.  Which is a strange question to be asking a nation of immigrants.

Meanwhile, the Center for Immigration Studies itself has been repeatedly slammed for its shoddy methodology and obviously skewed assumptions.  (CIS once claimed that deportations dropped 40% in one year — by comparing seven months’ of data from one year to twelve months of data from the year before.)  This week, CIS has released a new study implying that President Obama has opened an immigration backdoor by granting millions of work permits to non-immigrant foreigners — without providing context on, say, how many work permits Bush granted or pointing out that guest workers and temporary workers of course need permits.

  • Jessica Vaughan — Vaughan is the Director of Policy Studies for CIS and, like Ting, is a frequent witness for the anti-immigrant wing.  She’s fond of conflating undocumented immigrants with criminals and saying things like, “just because they’re lacking a conviction, doesn’t mean they should be deported.”

After multiple invitations asking the likes of Ting and Vaughan to speak, you would think the GOP would be well-versed with what these CIS/Tanton network representatives have to say.  Yet the House Judiciary Committee, among others, keeps calling back these same witnesses.  With the Senate now also under Republican control, we can look forward to more of the same.