Washington, DC – It’s a busy week on immigration policy and politics, as Republicans mark up a GOP-only anti-immigration bill that amounts to a turbocharged version of the Donald Trump and Stephen Miller agenda – and is already generating intra-GOP dissent – while re-upping their sham impeachment talk against DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
Meanwhile, leading Democrats propose affirmative solutions on immigration and the border as the end of Covid public health mass expulsions looms. Senator Menendez put forth a serious, multifaceted roadmap for the Biden administration, and House Democrats are also urging the administration to step up.
And new polling demonstrates the public’s enduring preference for the balanced approaches favored by Democrats. All of this makes the contrast sharper between serious efforts to reform a broken system and Republican efforts to block real solutions in an effort to activate their MAGA base.
According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
“On immigration and the border, Republicans want a made-for-tv show and the American people want solutions, which Democrats are putting on the table. The end of Stephen Miller’s public health excuse to expel immigrants en masse is coming on May 11 and the U.S. needs to prepare for what comes next. We are perfectly capable of managing the border and processing people in a safe and orderly manner, but it would be a lot easier if Republicans were serious about solutions. Instead, all we get is pure politics.
Based on what we see from the GOP, it is evident that they want the ‘operational chaos’ of the current immigration system, not ‘operational control’ or real solutions. Just look at the legislative wishlist of cruel and costly MAGA policies they are marking up this week, which can’t even muster the support of the full House GOP caucus.
If they really cared about alleviating border pressures, the GOP would support – not oppose and obstruct – common sense solutions to modernize our immigration system such as the vision proposed by Senator Menendez yesterday and proposals that expand legal pathways, offer alternatives to a trek to the southern border and fund our asylum system and the resources needed to help migrants seeking safety. But instead, Republicans remain more interested in MAGA political theater and playing rhetorical gotcha for the Breitbart and Fox News audiences. They prefer the chaos of the broken immigration status quo to serious efforts at solutions.”
Among the key developments in the news:
- Republicans’ child detention and asylum ban legislation is already generating intra-GOP dissent. The Republicans’ anti-immigrant bill, being marked up this week in the House Judiciary committee, includes measures that would force kids and families into detention, inflict harm on our economy and turn our back on America’s proud tradition as a beacon of refuge by effectively ending asylum at the U.S. Mexico border. Little wonder it’s generating dissent in the GOP caucus. As Politico and Beltway outlet Punchbowl News reported this morning, Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX) stated of his colleagues’ bill: “If something comes to the floor that looks like the 137 pages that were there yesterday, I’m thinking I’m the least of worries for folks.” Punchbowl indicated Gonzalez is not alone: “watch moderate Republicans who represent agriculture-heavy districts, including Reps. Dan Newhouse (Wash.) and Don Bacon (Neb.). Businesses in their districts might be affected by the implementation of immigration verification systems for farm workers.”
- Republicans re-up sham effort to impeach DHS Secretary Mayorkas hoping somehow to get the smoking gun that will give them a “high crime or misdemeanor” when in reality, they just oppose immigration. In hearings, Republicans are playing rhetorical gotcha on Sec. Mayorkas and his past comments on “operational control” at the border. That his remarks are being taken out of context is beside the point to the Republicans. Even the Berlin Wall would have failed to meet the “operational control” standard Republicans are harping on. (see here for more).
- Greg Sargent with must-read assessment on current moment and cross-currents on immigration and the border. Washington Post’s Greg Sargent writes: “It turns out that basing real-world policy on the lurid fantasy universe depicted in MAGA-pleasing ads produces results so absurd and extreme that Republicans beholden to less MAGA-fied voters can’t stomach it. Democrats should be capitalizing on this GOP disarray, by doing more to push their own immigration reform agenda.” As Sargent notes, some leading Democrats and outside observers are proposing an affirmative policy vision that aligns with these solutions – notably, the policy blueprint released yesterday by Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) which we welcome and support (link here), House Democrats urging the Biden Administration to take concrete steps, and a policy memo released by FWD.us available here.
- New polling: Democrats should lean into balanced solutions to meet the American public’s strong sentiment: As new polling from The Immigration Hub and Voto Latino conducted by Global Strategy Group finds, the American public supports a balanced approach to immigration policy aligned with this Democratic vision, but only when Democrats don’t let Republicans fill the vacuum. As Beatriz Lopez of the Immigration Hub told Politico: “it’s talking about both — not just the border but also what they’re planning to do to protect Dreamers and others who are every bit a part of the American community. That balanced approach is what works with voters.”