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GOP Escalates Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric With Attacks on DREAMers and Child Refugees

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Republican Leaders Enabled and Emboldened Nativist Wing, to Detriment of National Party

When House Republican leadership decided to block broad immigration reform, they capitulated to the Rep. Steve King (R-IA) caucus.  Now that same segment of the GOP is emboldened, spinning themselves into a froth over the idea that we might actually give refugee children from Central America a bed, a meal, and a hearing before we deport them (sarcasm implied).

The President’s emergency spending request to address this issue is all the excuse restrictionists needed to unleash the crazy.

Among the recent ugly comments by high-profile Republicans and conservatives:

  • Cliven Bundy compared the children fleeing violence to the recent standoff at his ranch, saying that federal agents are “pointing their guns at we the people” and not at the “enemy,” who he said is the “encroacher that’s illegally coming in here” (AKA the children).
  • From Sarah Palin, in her call to impeach Obama yesterday: “Enough is enough of the years of abuse from this president. His unsecured border crisis is the last straw that makes the battered wife say, ‘no mas.’”
  • In a tweet, Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) called Obama an “imperial” president and faulted DACA for letting “illegal aliens overrun” the country: “@BarackObama creates DACA by fiat & illegal aliens overrun USA. AZ will continue to fight this imperial POTUS & demand secure borders.”
  • Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) accused the Obama administration of letting the children on the border in so that they can vote Democrat: “In the end they have said they want to turn Texas blue and they want to turn America blue. If you bring in hundreds of thousands or millions of people and give them the ability to vote and tell them if you want to keep getting the benefits you have to go vote…that drives people to vote and it would ensure republicans will never get elected again.” He also suggested that the President send troops to Mexico and that the child migrants may include radical Islamist terrorists.
  • Laura Ingraham on Bill O’ Reilly’s show this week: “OK, first thing you do is start deporting people — not by the hundreds, not by the dozens. By the thousands. And that means entire families. Not just a father, a mother. But we keep families unified by deporting all people who are are here illegally, that’s number one…Number two, we have to stop visas and stop foreign aid to countries who will not repatriate the citizens of those countries that left and came to our country illegally…Number three, I think there has to be an end to this thing called birthright citizenship. Some people call it anchor babies.”
  • The Madison Project, a Tea Party group supported by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX): “We are now languishing from the flood of over 100,000 illegal immigrants teaming over our southern border, adding to the millions of illegals already here. At stake is nothing less than the preservation of our civil society, sovereignty, and solvency as a nation and as a stable economy. They drain our resources, health care, education, and criminal justice system…We feel like strangers in our own country.”
  • Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) floated a conspiracy theory that the Obama administration might be orchestrating the children coming to the border: “We either have an incredibly inept administration or they’re in on this somehow, I hate to be conspiratorial, but how do you move that many people from Central America across Mexico, into the United States without there being a coordinated effort?…I have to believe that when you do not respond in any way, that you are either inept, or you have some ulterior motive of which you are functioning from.”
  • Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID), while speaking to David Gregory called on the US to ignore refugee law by immediately removing the children coming to the border, claiming that doing so would be best for them: “The thing that this administration needs to do is immediately deport these families.  I know it sounds harsh, I know it sounds difficult, but they are creating a crisis at this that is actually going to harm these children.”

“Advocating the mass deportation of children to their deaths does not reflect American values.  Republicans at the federal, state, and local levels are not just playing games with kids’ lives, they’re spiking the ball,” said Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice.  She continued:

Clearly, they’ve written-off Latino, APIA, and immigrant voters.  Combine this with House Republicans’ votes to defund the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and resume the deportation of DREAMers, and the looming lawsuit against the President for using his legal authority and you get one heck of an anti-immigrant message coming loud and clear from the highest levels of the GOP.

Speaker Boehner and his colleagues love to play the blame game on immigration. But, let’s be clear: It’s their fault we’ve seen no progress. Instead of legislation, we’re getting a lawsuit against the President. Instead of a path to citizenship, we’re seeing efforts to deport DREAMers.

Republicans have had their chance to participate in the solution. But, they’ve opted for ugly rhetoric and anti-immigrant tirades. They may think they’re winning some kind of battle here, but Americans will not stand for this offensive, extreme, violent attitude toward children.  Here, as with all things related to immigration, Republican politicians are overplaying their hand.