Washington – The news that Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA) is the Republicans’ choice to lead the Immigration Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee – passing over outlandish and outspoken anti-immigrant zealot Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and instead installing him as Vice-Chairman in the process – is surprising to many. However, the choice actually reveals that the new Republican majority in the House is still bent on pursuing a costly and ineffective mass-deportation approach to immigration policy.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “Steve King was dethroned because even the House Republican leadership must realize that comparing immigrants to livestock and suggesting we keep them out with an electric fence is offensive to Latino voters. But, he’s simply been demoted from king to prince, and together, with Lamar Smith and Elton Gallegly, will lead the deportation caucus in the House. Until the Republican Party actually changes position on immigration, their ugly faces will still define them.”
Though some may interpret King’s being passed over as chairperson to be a sign that the Republican caucus understands the link between immigration extremism and political dangers, the choice of Rep. Gallegly is a curious one through that lens. In fact, Gallegly’s voting record on immigration issues shows that he fits neatly alongside Lamar Smith and Steve King as an advocate to force the mass deportation of 11 million undocumented workers and their family members. The Republican Party will have to actually learn that its policies on immigration are the problem, not its spokespeople.
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