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House GOP Extremism and Political Stunts Open Door for Democrats to Define Responsible Immigration Solutions

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Washington, DC – House Republicans have introduced extreme anti-immigration legislation that would entirely eliminate asylum, no matter how repressive a regime or deadly a situation someone flees. It’s the latest evidence that MAGA extremism and the House GOP are indistinguishable and another indication that the GOP is set to double down on their unpopular and irresponsible vision, on immigration and other issues. 

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

“Following an election where MAGA extremism helped turn a host of 2022 midterm races that Republicans expected to win into electoral defeats, the new House GOP majority is again intent to define themselves by their extremism. Their approach on immigration is little more than red meat for the MAGA base combined with obvious political stunts that tout a perpetual ‘crisis’ for political reasons. This presents an opportunity for Democrats to lean in and draw sharp contrasts, highlight real solutions, and fill the vacuum created by MAGA extremism.” 

On immigration, in addition to tripping over themselves to file the first border-related impeachment articles against DHS Secretary Mayorkas, House Republicans have introduced legislation that amounts to a “total end to asylum,” as Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, policy director of the American Immigration Council, assessed. He further detailed: 

“The first border bill the House GOP are set to vote on would impose permanent mandatory expulsions at EVERY border/airport for EVERYONE without a visa or valid entry document—even a child crossing alone or a baby found abandoned, no exceptions.”

As Greg Sargent of the Washington Post counsels, this opens the door for Democrats to engage in a smart way. As Sargent writes in, “To defeat Trumpism, stop letting MAGA stunts drive the debate”:

“DeSantis and other Republicans often set the frame of our national argument over immigration. Democrats badly need to seize control of it on their own terms.

Here’s one idea: Democrats should find ways to elevate the voices of lawmakers from Southwestern and border states on this issue. These are mostly dynamic, relatively young public servants who can speak from direct experience about immigration in a nuanced, compelling way. Why don’t we hear more from them when Republicans roll out their stunts?

…The dirty secret of this debate is that Republicans like DeSantis plainly relish as much border chaos as possible. As immigration writer Alex Nowrasteh notes, in the public mind such chaos imagery perversely undermines the case for more legal immigration, which gets things exactly backward. More legal channels would reduce the incentives to migrate illegally, mitigating disorder at the border.

Republicans like DeSantis want the border perceived as an uncontrollable war zone. That’s why they hold photo ops there in buffoonish-looking military garb.

“Democrats have to prioritize fixing the immigration system,” Rep. Greg Casar (D-Tex.) told me. “Otherwise we’ll continue in this vicious cycle. The more broken the system is, the more Republicans will fill the vacuum with stunts.”

Democrats who live and breathe these issues regularly need to take charge of this debate and explain clearly to the American people that legal immigration, managed humanely and effectively, is a positive good for the country.”