tags: Press Releases

GOP Busy Building Its Dangerous, Cruel and Self-Defeating Brand of Anti-Immigrant Politics

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At CPAC, in Congress and in Florida, “GOP is ever-more comfortable with a brand of anti-immigrant politics that is extreme, dangerous, and out of step with the American public” – Zachary Mueller

Washington, DC – As a series of events and remarks this week underscore, today’s Republican Party and the broader conservative movement is busy continuing to define itself by its immigration extremism.

According to Zachary Mueller, Political Director at America’s Voice: 

“From CPAC to Florida to the halls of Congress, the GOP is ever-more comfortable with a brand of anti-immigrant politics that is extreme, dangerous, and out of step with the American public. It’s also self-defeating from a policy standpoint, as efforts to keep out, kick out, and deny opportunities to immigrants has our national economic needs exactly backwards.

At CPAC, the Republican embrace of white nationalism and authoritarianism is on full display. From the amplification of the white nationalist conspiracies – that are tied to multiple domestic terrorist attacks – to giving a platform to wannabe despots like Jair Bolsonaro and Donald Trump, Republicans continue to show us exactly who they are – a threat to public safety and our democracy.”


The first day of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) included an ugly array of comments and dangerous conspiracies, including:

  • Trump’s former ICE Acting Director Tom Homan defends family separation: Homan said, “I’m sick and tired of hearing about the family separation. I’m still being sued over that … I don’t give a shit,” followed by the cheering from the CPAC crowd.
  • House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan and others embrace the dangerous “replacement” conspiracy theory, indicating there is a plot to replace Americans:
    • Rep. Jordan stated, during CPAC’s opening session with Matt Schlapp, “The biggest problem is, what is happening to our border over the last two years is intentional, there is no other way to interpret it. It’s premeditated, it’s done purposefully, and it’s why we have had 5 million illegal immigrants come into the country.” 
    • Tom Homan also embraced the “replacement” conspiracy, saying President Biden and DHS Secretary Mayorkas committed “borderline treason” and noting, ,“This is by design, they open this border up because they see some future political advantage of letting millions of people in, are they future Democratic voters, maybe? … They sold this country out for future political power.”
    • In another panel, Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) and Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) doubled down on the dehumanizing racist characterization of migrants seeking safety and asylum as an “invasion.” 

Expect more ugliness throughout the weekend, including a Saturday speech from Donald Trump and appearances by global authoritarian and nativist figures such as Jair Bolsonaro and Nigel Farage (following last year’s CPAC appearance from Viktor Orban).

In Florida (and with political ambitions beyond):

Governor Ron DeSantis recently unveiled a host of anti-immigrant state bills, including a measure to rescind Florida’s in-state tuition bill that expands access and affordability to more state Dreamers. As NBC News reports, in-state voices from business, higher education, and affected communities are condemning the effort by DeSantis to restrict opportunities for Dreamers, as is former FL Governor and current Senator Rick Scott, who signed the in-state tuition bill into law:

  • “A group of employers, students and community leaders expressed alarm Thursday over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ proposal to reverse a law that allows undocumented immigrants to pay in-state college and university tuition … ‘It never occurred to me in 2014 that we would be convening again to deal with the issue of in-state tuition,’ Eduardo Padrón, former president of Miami Dade College, said Thursday at a news conference in Miami … ‘This is an issue of fairness and common sense and it’s good for our economy. If you put roadblocks at a time when there is great need in fields like engineering, doctors, nursing, it’s an ill-advised and ill-conceived idea,’ said Padrón, a former board chair of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. …The law making in-state tuition available to Florida students who lack legal immigration status, also known as Dreamers, was signed by then-Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican now in the U.S. Senate … While some Republicans who backed the law have been silent on the issue, Scott has criticized DeSantis’ proposal as ‘unfair.’ He recently told reporters in Tampa that ‘it’s a bill that I was proud to sign. … It’s a bill I would sign again today.’”

In Congress:

As we highlighted yesterday, Attorney General Garland stated this week that white supremacist violence is the biggest threat to our nation. Just yesterday, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told CNN viewers:

“Twenty years ago, [we] were focused on the foreign terrorists who sought to enter the country and do us grave harm. Now, that threat, by the way, persists. But now we also have tremendously prominent domestic violent extremists. The individual already here in the United States radicalized [to] violence because of an ideology of hate, a false narrative, anti-government sentiment and other ideologies spread on social media.”

House Republicans are not heeding these warnings and are instead relentlessly focused on asylum seekers and depicting migrants as the biggest threat to the nation – and continue to mainstream dangerous white nationalist conspiracies:

  • Over the first five weeks of the House Republican majority, they have held five border-related committee hearings and at all five they have platformed white nationalist conspiracies. 
  • The GOP’s relentless immigration and border focus shows no signs of slowing down, with additional House hearings planned for coming weeks that again promise to be heavy on dangerous political theater and anti-immigrant falsehoods, and light on any serious discussions of solutions.