tags: Press Releases

“Instead of Fixing the Problem, Politicians have Decided to Exploit It” – The GOP Refusal to Work on Real Immigration Solutions

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Vanessa Cárdenas: “The reality is that on immigration and the border, Republicans are not just blocking sensible solutions, but are also actively opposing or overturning programs that are working”

Washington, DC – Fresh off the latest shutdown drama, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and other Republicans are already pledging to keep their extreme border and immigration demands front and center for the next six weeks, noting the price of the defense of Ukraine against the Russian invasion and keeping the U.S. government open is passing GOP border priorities into law on a spending bill. Meanwhile, Republican presidential contenders are trying to “outdo” each other on their anti-immigrant pledges on the campaign trail (for example, see this insightful New York Times article by Nicholas Nehamas and Eileen Sullivan on how Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump’s dueling calls for mass deportations are “a position that is as extreme as it may be unfeasible”).

Amidst all this ugly sentiment and political rhetoric remains the fundamental challenge: how to fix and modernize an immigration system that all view as broken when one political party has decided they would rather keep the problem unfixed? A host of voices and commentators have been weighing into this question in recent days, including calling out Republicans for their continued preference for failed cruelty and performative politics instead of working to forge or support long overdue real solutions.

  • In her syndicated Washington Post column, Catherine Rampell writes, “Forgetting the Trump-era horror of child separation, voters invite more,”  noting, “Americans never fully reckoned with the mass-scale, government-approved child abuse carried out in our name when thousands of migrant children were snatched from their parents. Worse, we might be sleepwalking into bigger atrocities in the years ahead, as Donald Trump and other Republican politicians threaten even more extralegal punishment of immigrants if handed back the White House … it’s an election year. So instead of fixing the problem, politicians have decided to exploit it — and minimize or valorize the horrors of Trump’s worst policies in the process … other Republicans vying for the presidential nomination have aped Trump’s instincts.” 
  • The New York Times Magazine story by Marcela Valdes, “Why Can’t We Stop Unauthorized Immigration? Because It Works,” assesses, “The only immigration policies that Congress can bring itself to enact, it seems, are funding more border security and ICE raids. But these actions alone will never fix America’s immigration problems.”
  • The Albany Times Union editorial board writes, “Get real on immigration,” noting that recently a group of Republican governors have done what GOP politicians always do on immigration: “[E]ngaged in the same one-dimensional performative politics that has fixed nothing, and won’t as long as immigration remains an issue to milk, not solve … We’ve said for years that Congress could address illegal immigration if only it wasn’t such a useful political tool … America won’t fix its immigration problem until politicians get off what’s become the never-ending campaign trail, and get down to work.”
  • The Houston Chronicle editorial, “What if we got serious about border challenges?” noting, “McCarthy’s own desperate ploy — basically to keep his job — underscores the fact that what the border really needs are serious people doing serious work to solve a serious problem. Neither Abbott’s concertina wire nor Donald Trump’s wall are going to stop desperate people seeking a better way of life for themselves and their families … Serious elected officials doing the serious work of immigration reform and border security would not be playing jeans-and-boots dress-up on congressional tours of the border … The Biden administration has taken a variety of approaches to addressing the crisis, including a parole program for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans. The policy is designed to assist refugees who have urgent reasons to flee their homes but who may not meet the legal requirements for asylum. It’s a good idea and probably should be expanded to other countries, but the White House, acting on its own, is limited in what it can accomplish. Only Congress can take a comprehensive approach. That won’t be happening in the foreseeable future … Reimagining requires serious people working together on a serious problem. Or, we can talk about curtains.”

The following is a statement from Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice: 

“Republicans’ preference for chaos, cruelty and performative ugly politics is preventing the rest of the country from being able to broker real solutions and a legislative modernization to meet the challenges of 21st century migration and American needs. While helping keep in place the chaos that results from a broken immigration system, Republicans are then using examples of that chaos as an excuse for inaction and a supposed rationale for draconian policy proposals. 

The reality is that on immigration and the border, Republicans are not just blocking sensible solutions, but are also actively opposing or overturning programs that are working – from DACA to TPS to humanitarian parole programs that are significantly addressing border pressures. We need solutions through the actual hard work of governance, not more fear mongering, obstruction and political demagoguery.”