tags: Press Releases

Amidst Dysfunction and Uncertainty, Anti-Immigrant Fears are Driving Force Uniting GOP

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Greg Sargent column assesses why GOP anti-immigrant legislation goes well beyond “border security” …“Democrats should stop acceding to this cycle. The fate of our immigration system shouldn’t be hashed out under yet another round of quasi-extortionate duress.”

Washington, DC – With Capitol Hill reeling from the ouster of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, uncertainty about House leadership is dominating the news cycle. However, we already know with confidence several key elements that are driving Republican dynamics:

  1. Republican dysfunction and inability to govern or broker real solutions seems likely to continue unabated or get worse.
  2. Republicans’ relentless focus on extreme and unworkable immigration policy is one of their few areas of intra-party unity. And as this excellent analysis from Washington Post’s Greg Sargent makes clear, the proposed GOP legislative package on the table goes well-beyond so-called “border security,” and would gut asylum, eviscerate legal pathways, and advance Trump-era policies that are cruel and unworkable and already have a track-record of failure (see fuller excerpts from Sargent’s analysis below).
  3. Driving the GOP’s immigration and border demands are white nationalist conspiracies and fears about a changing America. As The Atlantic’s Ron Brownstein phrased it in a must-read analysis of the implications of the McCarthy ouster, “…it’s those fears of being displaced in a changing America that have created the cycle in which the pressure on Republican congressional leaders perpetually pushes them toward harsher tactics and more aggressive policies.”

The following is a statement from Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice: 

“Republicans’ extremism is destroying the party of Abe Lincoln. On immigration and on other urgent issues facing our nation, we need common sense solutions that drive us forward and bring our country together, not continued fear mongering, obstruction and demagoguery.  Such an example is the GOP’s extreme and unworkable HR2 legislation,  which would only compound chaos and cruelty and make things worse at the border. The xenophobic grandstanding out of the House won’t improve the lives of working families or help our nation tackle the challenges we are facing. Extremist politics puts public safety, sensible policy and economic opportunity at risk for all of us.”

Read excerpts from Greg Sargent’s Washington Post’s analysis written just hours before the vote to vacate McCarthy’s speakership, assessing Republicans’ extreme anti-immigrant demands and legislative package: 

[The Republicans’] “proposal is about much more than ‘border security.’ If passed, the GOP agenda would dramatically roll back certain types of legal migration to this country and otherwise transform our immigration system in numerous radical, cruel and reckless ways.

… the GOP immigration bill is wildly extreme. It wouldn’t just revive President Donald Trump’s policy of forcing asylum seekers to wait in Mexico, which produced a humanitarian catastrophe. As legal experts point out, it would also eliminate asylum for those who enter the United States between ports of entry, hike the bar on qualifying for protection, and sharply restrict the right to apply for migrants who cross another country en route to the United States, with almost no exceptions.

‘Taken all together, the bill effectively eliminates asylum at our borders,” Kerri Talbot, executive director of the Immigration Hub, told me. “That’s been enshrined in law for over 40 years.’

The GOP bill would also dramatically expand the mass detention of families, even though holding minors has been found to inflict serious damage on them. The measure would gut legal protections for unaccompanied migrant kids as well. And it would sharply restrict the president’s authority to parole migrants into the United States on humanitarian grounds.

… a restriction on the president’s parole authority could also end Biden’s programs admitting some 30,000 migrants per month from Cuba, Venezuela, Haiti and Nicaragua into the United States, Reichlin-Melnick notes.

Ending those programs would have nothing whatsoever to do with ‘border security.’ Because they allow people to apply for entry from afar, they have had some success reducing migration directly to the U.S.-Mexico border from those four countries, a study by Cato Institute’s David Bier found, meaning they might have reduced pressure on the border.

…Even if McCarthy is ousted as speaker, his replacement is likely to adopt this same demand, perhaps even more aggressively. Democrats should stop acceding to this cycle. The fate of our immigration system shouldn’t be hashed out under yet another round of quasi-extortionate duress.”