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The Republican embrace of immigrant-bashing not limited to President Trump and Rep. Steve King (R-IA). Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are jumping in with both feet.
Yesterday, the House of Representatives devoted precious congressional time to a purely symbolic messaging vote on support for ICE, designed no doubt to set up midterm political attack ads. And according to NBC News, a recent barrage of immigration attack ads in contested House and Senate races are produced by super PACs affiliated with Republican leaders Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell:
The Congressional Leadership Fund, a GOP super PAC aligned with House Republican Leadership, is out with a new ad that tries to link Democrat Danny O’Connor to the “liberal resistance” that supports the policy [abolish ICE]. O’Connor is running in next month’s special House election in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District.
Another GOP group has been trying to make the issue stick against Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., in his tough Senate race. One Nation, an allied group of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, ran ads this month that criticizes the push to abolish ICE and calls on Manchin to back President Trump’s call for border security funding.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
Given the GOP’s unwillingness to run on tax cuts, healthcare, retirement security, the Republican midterm strategy seems to be one of deafening silence on what matters, loud roars on what doesn’t.
The Republican ‘go-to’ in 2018 is to stoke fear and dehumanize immigrants. The fact that wages are down, healthcare premiums are up, social security and Medicare are under threat, education is underfunded and democracy is under attack by the man in the White House – deserve no attention at all.
But Democrats and progressives are onto the GOP. Watch as candidates stand up for immigrants and for a nation that extends opportunity for all. That’s because we know…
We know that every child, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, or where they live, deserves to pursue their dreams.
We know that Republicans and their greedy lobbyists are putting our children’s future at risk. They rig the rules to enrich themselves, while they distract us by generating fear based on race or place of origin – undermining our basic beliefs in treating others the way we want to be treated.
We know that when we come together across racial differences, we can make this a nation we’re proud to leave our kids, one that honors the courage and commitment of those who would do anything to make life better for those to come.
In addition, we know that in statewide and congressional special elections over the past year and a half, the Republican attacks on immigrants did not work for their candidates, and in some cases, like Virginia’s gubernatorial contest, backfired.
It reeks of desperation, but it seems the GOP has decided xenophobia is their best shot at winning in 2018. So look for the divide and distract strategy across the country and up and down the ballot. Their opponents, on the other hand, seem to be betting on bringing together white, black and brown people build a nation that works for all of us, with no one left out. We will soon find out which strategy wins.