tags: Press Releases

House Democrats Step Up to Effectively Message Immigration and Border Issues, Defining GOP Extremism and Lack of Solutions

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Washington, DC –  Last week, we highlighted past campaign examples of Democrats who effectively positioned themselves politically on immigration (as well as examples of Democrats who mishandled the issue by attempting to ignore immigration or only adopt Republican-lite positions). Our guidance is that Democrats must address immigration and border issues head-on and define their vision and values, while defining Republicans’ extremism and lack of solutions. Last week, in a series of House committee hearings and media interviews, a range of Democrats provided good examples of engaging the issues to put opponents on defense:

  • Rep. Veronica Escobar: GOP border strategy “to build walls and harden the border” has failed: Rep. Escobar told the Washington Post: “We’ve tried the Republican strategy … The Republican strategy has been to build walls and harden the border. That hasn’t worked. And if you look at Title 42 over the last two-and-a-half years that it’s been in place, it has not slowed migration, deterred it, or eliminated it. So we have to do something different.”
  • Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) on Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and GOP use of “invasion” rhetoric: “We had a massive invasion of our own chamber and she continued to be a cheerleader for the insurrection”: In a floor speech rebutting the use of “invasion” language in relation to immigration by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Rep. Raskin (D-MD) said: “She does not mention more than 100 Ukrainian children who have been shot and killed by the [Russian] army. Instead, she talks about a massive invasion at the border, a massive invasion which their own speakers have said today, hundreds of thousands of people have been apprehended in. That’s very different from a military invasion. The one in Ukraine? Of course the gentlelady’s not going to talk about that … The gentlelady talked about a massive invasion. We had a massive invasion of our own chamber and she continued to be a cheerleader for the insurrection and deny what happened here.”
  • Rep. Mary Gay Scanlan (D-PA): Leans in on GOP’s nativist attacks calling them “…vile, attention-seeking, to divide and distract us from … lack of seriousness, lack of solutions.”: At a House Judiciary Committee hearing, Rep. Scanlon (D-PA) stated: “Our nation also has a history of political opportunists who attack the latest wave of immigrants and seek to stoke fear and chaos in order to gain or cling to power. Whether those attacks were made against my ancestors, the Irish, yours, Secretary, from Cuba, those coming to our southern border today, or so many other groups in between, we’ve heard the same language and scare tactics. But then and now, those attacks are a sham, vile, attention-seeking, to divide and distract us from their opponents’ lack of seriousness, their lack of solutions and even, at times, their own misconduct.”
  • Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA): speaking at a Capitol Hill press conference on Thursday said: “We’ve heard of thousands of reports of harrowing violence, of murder, of kidnapping, of rape, of torture, against migrants and asylum seekers expelled to Mexico due to Title 42. This policy was never about keeping anybody safe, period. This Trump-era policy was always about stoking anti-immigrant fear and hate, and undermining our humanitarian obligations to asylum seekers in this country.”
  • Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), at the same Capitol Hill press conference, added: “The application of Title 42 by the Trump administration was a cruel, racist, and counterproductive use of health policy to circumvent existing immigration law.”
  • Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI): GOP attacks designed for “Fox News spots they can use for politics”: During the House Judiciary Committee hearing, Rep. Cicilline told Sec. Mayorkas, “Just in case there’s any mystery about why you’re not being allowed to answer questions or why they’re not interested in your reference to data … they’re not actually interested in that … There’s a whole plan about what this hearing is about and it’s about creating Fox News spots that they can use for politics.” 
  • Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA): Republicans don’t want to solve problems, they only want “border theater”: Rep. Swalwell, during the House Judiciary Committee hearing, stated: “They have high interest in border theater and politics. These guys if you want a dog to bark at cars that drive by in front of your house, they would be great at that, you should hire them to do that. I would never hire them to solve a problem. They’re not interested in solving problems.”
  • Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) and HHS Secretary Becerra correct the record: the vast majority of drugs come through ports of entry, not via migrants and asylum seekers at the border.  At a Ways and Means Committee hearing, Rep. Sanchez questioned HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra on Title 42. He stated: “the people that will be impacted at the border by Title 42 aren’t the folks who are trying to ship drugs across the border. Title 42, essentially, the change in Title 42 will affect those who are actually presenting themselves to our border agents, not trying to clandestinely pass by without border agents seeing them or capturing them.” As a reminder, most every Republican voted against the bipartisan infrastructure bill that included $236 billion in spending for ports of entry for screening technology and infrastructure.