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Game Plan from the GOP and Allies on Child Refugees: Grandstand; Distort; Do Nothing; Repeat

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The Same Game Plan Used by the Republicans on Every Immigration Debate 

When it comes to addressing the ongoing child refugee crisis at the border, Republicans and their allies have solidified a strategy of trying to score political points, driving memes that are fact-free, and then ending with a flourish of inaction.  See below for recent evidence of the GOP game plan in motion:

  • Perry Steps Up Effort to Protect Texas from “Invasion” of 12-Year Old Refugees Fleeing Violence: In a shameless attempt to revive his presidential prospects, Texas Governor Rick Perry scored another day of media coverage when he announced yesterday he’ll be sending 1,000 national guard troops to “secure the border.”  Because, after all, when young kids run to border patrol agents rather than from them, the appropriate response is to send troops, right?  We can’t wait for the photos of National Guardsmen processing paperwork and changing diapers.  Perry’s move is as transparent as his new glasses.
  • Senator Ted Cruz Attacks Relief for DREAMers as the Root Cause of Child Refugee Issue: Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) continues to be the lead voice claiming that the cause of the child refugee crisis President’s popular Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  Violence in three of the top five most violent countries in the world?  Nah.  It’s that Obama granted relief to young people who arrived in America before June 2007 that spurred an exodus from three specific countries in June 2014!  The political fallout from this anti-immigrant posturing was demonstrated on Capitol Hill yesterday, as DREAMers mobilized to hold a funeral for the Republican Party.  As Greisa Martinez, organizer for United We Dream, said, “The GOP will not stand for us. They will not fight for us. The GOP is dead to the immigrant community.”
  • Extremist, Anti-Immigrant Leaders Call for Obama’s Impeachment AND Public Lynching: Anti-immigrant groups just can’t help themselves when it comes to the ongoing child refugee crisis.  Senior Policy Analyst Stephen Steinlight of the nativist group Center for Immigration Studies – a group routinely called by House and Senate Republicans to testify as “experts” at immigration hearings – called for the President to not only be impeached, but also to be “hung, drawn, and quartered.”  Instead of being called as witnesses by Congressional Republicans, this guy should be called to account by the Secret Service.
  • What if Steve King Held Another Anti-Immigration Rally and Again No One Showed Up?  Nativist opponents of immigration reform were supposed to make their big stand this last weekend, spurred on by the Murrieta, California protest against Central American kids.  Mostly led by two internet groups, Make Them Listen and Overpasses for America, extremists had rallies planned in every state.  In an Iowa rally where Steve King was the headliner, attendance was so sparse it prompted comparisons to his infamous failure of a Richmond rally last August.  Other rallies around the nation were also a bust, highlighting — as Right Wing Watch put it — “the truth that the anti-immigrant movement is desperately trying to hide: it just doesn’t have that much support.”
  • On His So-Called “HUMANE” Bill, Cornyn Touts More Lies & Makes the Case for More and Faster Cursory Interviews with Terrified Children and Border Patrol Agents with Weapons:  In a new National Review op-ed, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) distorts his own bill, the so-called “HUMANE Act.” He writes, “A new bill would help fix the immediate crisis and assist thousands of children.  Now, some on both sides of the aisle have expressed concerns about this legislation. On the right, they have said this bill would make it easier for illegal minors to achieve legal and asylum status. That is wrong. The HUMANE Act would not change current law with regard to either claim.  It would, however, make sure current law is actually enforced by speeding up court dates and the removal process for unaccompanied children.”  In fact, instead of current law, which provides children with the opportunity to secure legal counsel and prepare a case to be heard by an asylum officer or immigration judge, his bill would take scared kids who just survived a harrowing journey and subject them to cursory interviews by border patrol agents in green uniforms with a sidearm strapped to their waist.  A recent UNHCR review of the process used for Mexican unaccompanied minors, found that 95% of the kids interviewed by border patrol agents are denied relief and sent home when the UN estimated that 58% had protection claims.
  • Rep. Phil Gingrey asks CDC to Check Kids for Ebola Virus—Despite the Fact that Not One Case of the Disease Exists in the Americas:  As Ken Sepkowitz of the Daily Beast writes in a piece entitled, “D.C. Moron Phil Gingrey Spread Ebola Fever Over Immigrants”: “The red hot topics of immigration across the Mexican border and infectious disease epidemics converged this month when Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), a retired obstetrician-gynecologist, claimed that ‘illegal migrants carrying deadly diseases such as swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola virus, and tuberculosis’ represent a threat to American health and well-being.  It is a new, if very old argument in the immigration wars, but Dr. Gingrey’s suggestion, in a letter to the director of the Centers for Disease Control, is unusually dim-witted.  Were I, an infectious disease guy, to write to a federal agency about an obstetrical matter, I at least would run my tractate past a colleague in the OB field.  Gingrey, apparently, was in too big a hurry to have a friendly local ID expert point out that swine flu is not in season (indeed, the brief dust-up of a few cases among immigrant children reported a week ago has gone nowhere fast); that dengue fever is not transmitted person to person; and that Ebola has not appeared in the Americas—North, South, or Central—and shows no signs of doing so. OK, so TB is always a threat, sort of, but we know how to screen for it and, from the evidence one can find, are doing so not only at the Mexico entry point but across all immigration points.”

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

The GOP’s strategy is on full display.  Grandstand, distort and then do nothing.  It’s what the GOP did on immigration reform.  It’s what they are doing on the supplemental budget request before Congress.  And, as always, Speaker Boehner and his ‘leadership team’ finish with a blame game pirouette in which all is Obama’s fault.  So be it.  The GOP will play it’s game, focused on whipping up the 30% of the country that believes anything Fox News and talk radio say.  But if Rick Perry, Ted Cruz and other Presidential wannabes are curious about how this strategy might pan out, perhaps they should ask Mitt Romney.