tags: Press Releases

GOP Nativism: Ugly and Extreme on Full Display

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CPAC Anti-Immigrant Ugliness Runs Through FL and TX

Washington, DC – Last week, we highlighted how the Republican Party and the broader conservative movement were busy defining themselves by immigration extremism. This weekend proved the point, at CPAC and in the prominent GOP-led states of Texas and Florida, they keep barreling down an ugly and unfruitful road.

According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director at America’s Voice: 

“Florida and Texas are competing to see who can be more cruel and counterproductive in their performative, anti-immigrant extremism, including measures specifically designed to harm Dreamers and kick children out of school. Meanwhile, the raw and vicious ugliness and nativism on display at CPAC is a reminder that the nativism of the right wing base is the tail wagging the larger Republican dog.”


The first day of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last week included former ICE Acting Director Tom Homan defending family separation and House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) and other speakers openly espousing white nationalist “invasion” and “replacement” conspiracies. That was just the warm-up to this weekend, as the CPAC stage was littered with election conspiracies, eliminationist rhetoric, and the white nationalist “invasion” and “replacement” conspiracies. Leading figures in the Republican Party and right wing media types deployed an apocalyptic version of xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and other forms of bigotry in speech after speech. Among the disturbing moments:

  • Donald Trump: “We shut down the illegal foreign invasion of our country…We will drive out the globalists…This is the final battle. Either they win or we win. If they win, we will no longer have a country.”
  • Steve Bannon: “Are you prepared to fight back, or are you just going to sit back and take it?”
  • Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA): “Their goal is actually the globalization of the United States of America, destruction of our sovereignty, so this is all intentional.”
  • Brandon Judd (Border Patrol union head and spokesman): “Everything starts with illegal immigration… it circles back to, what does the liberal left want. They want this chaos, they are continuing to push the chaos.”
  • Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA): “What our military should be doing, our military should be defending the southern border because we are being attacked every single day.”  
  • Michael Knowles (GOP operative): “Transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely.” 
  • Kari Lake (failed 2022 Arizona gubernatorial candidate): “they want the destruction of America, that’s what this is about… this is about globalism vs. Americanism.”

In Texas:

As Josephine Lee writes in a Texas Observer story, “Abbott Wants To Deny Undocumented Kids a Public Education,” Gov. Greg Abbott and GOP allies in Texas are again making noise about challenging settled Supreme Court precedent and deny undocumented kids an education:

  • “SB 923 would prohibit undocumented children from receiving state public education funds, withholding these funds from public schools. Districts would then have to call on the federal government to pay. The bill would deputize school districts to enforce immigration laws and empower them to decide what constitutes proof of nationality. School districts would then report children who do not meet such requirements to the state education agency. It’s a recipe for a host of discriminatory actions that would impact any minority child—not just undocumented children … The Supreme Court settled this issue in Plyler v. Doe. The Constitution forbids state-sponsored animus and bigotry of this sort. While no decision is invulnerable to revision by the current Supreme Court, there is also no indication that the justices have any appetite to deny basic public education to millions of children, nor to impose on all of us the lifetime consequences that would result,’ [Yale Law professor Michael] Wishnie said.”

Meanwhile, the State of Texas continues to lead the charge against the popular and successful DACA program, with Law360 covering the latest legal proceedings in the courtroom of Texas federal judge Andrew Hanen:

  • “The [Biden] administration pushed back Thursday on claims by a coalition of Republican states that President Joe Biden’s final rule on DACA forces undue costs on states’ public funds, saying any injunction to it that U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen may order should not apply nationwide.”

In Florida

Pushback continues against the host of anti-immigrant state legislative proposals being proposed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, including a measure to rescind Florida’s in-state tuition bill that expands access and affordability to more state Dreamers. 

“You can add former Republican Party of Florida Chair Al Cardenas to the list of state Republicans unhappy with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ legislative proposal to repeal in-state tuition fee waivers for undocumented immigrant students at colleges and universities … ‘The (proposed) law makes no sense from a humanitarian standpoint,’ Cardenas told the Phoenix on Friday. ‘From an economic standpoint. And from the standpoint of a stronger Florida in the future. So why do we do that other than to be mean spirited, I don’t know.’”

Al Cardenas added his voice to the mix of Florida business groups, educators and affected students who are denouncing DeSantis’s push to rescind the in-state tuition measure previously embraced by state Republicans and signed into law by GOP Governor Rick Scott.