The National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC), the political arm of the House Republican Caucus, has a long history of running racist, xenophobic ads, as documented by America’s Voice ad tracking over the past few cycles.
The Republican Party has nothing to offer the American people – besides the Big Lie and fealty to Donald Trump – so xenophobic and racist dog-whistles have been their go-to. No surprise, the NRCC is back at it this year, attacking House Democrats for supporting “amnesty” in the upcoming reconciliation bill. Apparently, this is a ham-handed effort to divide the Democratic caucus and peel away votes for the package, despite its broad-based popularity.
A few important points are important in understanding the background of the legislation at hand. This year, the U.S. House passed two pro-immigrant bills, the Dream and Promise Act and the Farmworkers Modernization Act. Importantly, both passed with Republican votes. At this point, it appears that both of these bills will be included in the reconciliation package currently being pulled together in the Senate. That’s what the NRCC is attacking.
So a couple of things to note.
The American people want results from Joe Biden and Democrats
The upcoming reconciliation package is the best opportunity for Democrats to deliver given the fact that Republican leadership is set on obstruction – for immigration and every other issue. A strategy they have not kept secret. Mitch McConnell vowed that his caucus would block anything President Biden wanted according to reporting from May from the Wall Street Journal:
“One hundred percent of my focus is standing up to this administration,” the Kentucky Republican said at a press conference in his home state Wednesday, in response to questions about infighting among House Republicans. “What we have in the United States Senate is total unity from Susan Collins to Ted Cruz in opposition to what the new Biden administration is trying to do to this country,” he said, referring to the senators from Maine and Texas.”
There is overwhelming support for a path to citizenship, specifically the provisions included in the reconciliation package:
- 71% of Americans support citizenship for “farmworkers and other essential workers”: This includes 85% Democrats; 71% Independents; and 61% Republicans.
- 70% of Americans support citizenship for “immigrants with temporary legal status who fled countries suffering from war or natural disasters”: This includes 83% of Democrats, 68% of Independents, and 60% of Republicans.
- 66% of Americans support citizenship for “undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children”: This includes 83% of Democrats, 63% of Independents, and 54% of Republicans.
New immigration polling from Gallup finds that over the past quarter-century Americans have become increasingly pro-immigrant. The new poll finds:
- By a 75-21% margin, Gallup finds that Americans think immigration is a “good thing” rather than a “bad thing” for the country today.
- Democrats (84-13%), Independents (79-17%), and Republicans (57-39%) each agree immigration is a “good thing.”
- Gallup has asked that question 20 times over the years and the current support for “immigration is a good thing” is near last year’s record high ever recorded and the 21% support for “bad thing” is near last year’s record low ever recorded (last year was a 77-19% margin).
There is bipartisan support for immigration reform
In fact, several House Republicans already voted for the bills whose provisions will likely be included in the reconciliation package. The Dream and Promise Act (HR 6) passed with nine GOP votes while the Farmworkers Modernization Act (HR 1603) got 30 GOP votes. The attacks launched by the NRCC for “amnesty” implicate their own Republican members.
GOP Echoing Nationalists and Xenophobes
Despite the losing politics here, we expect the NRCC and their allies (including the John Tanton network of anti-immigration organizations) to keep up the barrage of xenophobic attacks. Writing at the Boston Globe, Jazmine Ulloa reported that the GOP rhetoric on immigration has gotten more extreme:
Tough talk on border security and immigration has long been a staple of Republican politics, particularly during primaries, when politicians often vow to crack down on illegal immigration. But Trump took the rhetoric to a new level in both volume and intensity as president, frequently complaining of an “invasion” of nameless immigrants and depicting border crossers as criminals and “killers” in his rally speeches.
That overwrought “invasion” language, which Republican officials are now echoing to criticize Biden’s border policies, plays into far-right and, explicitly, white supremacist tropes that fuel anxiety among white voters about the dilution of their political power, historians and political analysts said, and that could have deadly consequences. Two recent white supremacist shooting suspects, Robert Bowers in Pittsburgh and Patrick Crusius in El Paso, Texas, cited “invaders” and a “Hispanic invasion” in the lead-up to their crimes.
The attacks from the NRCC will get more frenzied and ugly as Congress gets closer to enacting real solutions and we get closer to midterm elections in 2022. But, the Republican Party and their attacks are flying in the face of what the American people want – and what some of their own members support. And it will not cover up the fact that Republicans have no policy solutions on immigration or, frankly, anything else.