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Democrats Prepare to Vote on Popular Immigration Bills. Republicans Deploy False Claims to Try to Stop Them.

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“Americans want to legalize millions of immigrants who are here helping to keep America safe and strong. The nativist GOP wants to stop America from legalizing millions by minimizing Trump’s cruelty and exaggerating what’s happening at the border.”

The American people are ready for decisive action to put undocumented immigrants on a path to citizenship. House Democrats are moving forward several pieces of important legislation to the floor in mid-March. The bills formally recognize Dreamers, TPS holders and farm workers as the Americans they already are. Once the House acts, the action will move to the Senate.

What about Republicans?

While a few Republicans express support for legalizing deeply rooted, long-term immigrants  without status who are critical to American communities, far too many are trying to block these popular proposals. They are trying to do so by demonizing immigrants, lying about Trump’s immigration record of sadistic cruelty, and proclaiming a “border crisis” that does not exist.

Below are just a few of the most recent examples:

  • Stephen Miller: unaccompanied minors are posing as high school students to “endanger America’s children.” In an appearance on Tucker Carlson this week, Miller made the wild claim that unaccompanied minors who are admitted to America lie about their age to infiltrate U.S. high schools and “endanger America’s children.” Last week, Miller told the Washington Post that Republicans would win big if they make the 2022 midterms all about immigration, a prediction he made in 2018 and 2020, both of which proved wrong. He has also determined to drive a falsehood that under Biden our immigration system is out of control and a crisis – part of a campaign that started in August of 2020, six months before Biden took office. Remarkably, as the new administration works to follow the law and treat unaccompanied minors as kids in need, some in the mainstream media seem to be following Miller’s lead and adopting his framing.
  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott: don’t wear masks but let’s blame Biden and immigrants for COVID. On Fox News yesterday, Gov. Abbott blamed the Biden administration and asylum-seekers for being responsible for the spread of COVID in Texas. He made this outlandish claim on the same day he ignored medical advisors and lifted all restrictions as well as the state mask mandate. Sure, Governor, indulge the age-old trope of blaming immigrants for spreading disease. While you’re at it, Governor, keep blaming the “Green New Deal” for your mishandling of the recent weather emergency that cost lives.
  • Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions with fake apology and false history on family separation. In an interview with Reuters, Jeff Sessions talked about the zero tolerance policy he instituted that led to family separations. Sessions called it “unfortunate, very unfortunate, that somehow the government was not able to manage those children in a way that they could be reunited properly.” As NBC’s Jacob Soboroff tweeted, Sessions pretending he was unaware of the consequences of family separation is, “preposterous given all the evidence showing senior officials across DOJ, DHS and HHS were warned about *exactly* what ended up happening … It’s incredible Sessions continues to try to hide from evidence of the deliberate cruelty of family separations.” Accurately described by experts as state-sponsored kidnapping and torture, it should be clear that ripping over 5,000 kids from the arms of their parents and failing to reunite them is not “unfortunate” but rather one of American’s worst human rights atrocities.
  • Conservative columnist Rich Lowry calls family separation a “false start” and says Trump created an “entirely reasonable system.” In a Politico column that proclaims Biden administration policies are responsible for a “border crisis,” Lowry minimizes the horrors of Trump’s family separation policies. He writes, “Trump overemphasized the importance of the border wall, and had a number of false starts at the border, most notoriously the ‘zero tolerance’ policy that led to family separations. By the end, though, he had created an entirely reasonable system based on his lawful authorities to impose order at the border, while still allowing asylum seekers to apply for asylum in the U.S.” This is a pack of lies. Trump didn’t just “overemphasize” the border wall rhetorically, he closed down the government for 35 days over it, and then raided military appropriations to build 450 miles of this costly, ineffective and offensive vanity project. Zero tolerance and family separation weren’t “false starts,” they were part of a web of cruel and vicious policies aimed at deterring Brown and Black people from applying for refuge in America. Only when the American people exploded in anger and disgust, did he roll back the family separation policy – and even then, only somewhat. Lowry’s claim that asylum-seekers were allowed to apply for asylum in the U.S. and in the very Central American countries generating refugees also is false. Trump drove tens of thousands of people into danger in Mexico claiming that it would protect them; he sent refugees from Central America back to Central America claiming they could apply for protection there; and then he stopped all asylum applications altogether. Clearly, the goal of Trump’s lawless policy was to prevent asylum applicants from having their cases from being adjudicated in the U.S. 

See here for our take on just a few of the cruel failures and Trump’s real record on these issues.

The following is a statement from Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

Americans want to legalize millions of immigrants who are here helping to keep America safe and strong. The nativist GOP wants to stop America from legalizing millions by minimizing Trump’s cruelty and exaggerating what’s happening at the border.

We’re supposed to believe that family separation wasn’t too bad and that Donald Trump, Stephen Miller, and Jeff Sessions mostly got it right? The truth is, as DHS Secretary Mayorkas correctly noted this week, ‘the entire system was gutted’ and the new administration is ‘working around-the-clock to replace the cruelty of the past administration with an orderly, humane and safe immigration process.’ 

So spare us the demonization of kids fleeing violence. Spare us the whitewashing to Trump’s brutal record of sadism. And spare us the overheated claims of a “border crisis” when what’s really happening is that the Biden administration is just beginning to carefully unwind and defuse the multiple landmines left by Stephen Miller and his DHS cronies. 

Press forward, Democrats. Don’t fall for the ‘look over here, there’s a crisis’ trick. It’s time to put that canard to rest, and get big things done that change people’s lives.