tags: Press Releases

On Immigration and Border, GOP Wants “Operational Chaos” Not “Operational Control”

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Washington, DC – Republicans are again whipping up manufactured anti-immigrant outrage to fuel their sham effort to impeach DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and lie about the Biden administration’s border record and vision. In this case, see GOP and right wing media’s burgeoning effort to highlight a disconnect between recent assessments of Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz and DHS Secretary Mayorkas regarding “operational control” of the border. 

Yet the faux controversy and larger context underscore a related larger point – that Republicans want to maintain “operational chaos” at the border and are using these perpetual nativist outrages to justify their continued opposition to an immigration overhaul and to policies that would actually alleviate pressures and arrivals at the border.

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

“On immigration and the border, Republicans want ‘operational chaos’ not ‘operational control.’ If they really cared about alleviating border pressures, they would support – not oppose and obstruct – common sense solutions to modernize our immigration system. Unfortunately, chaos serves their political agenda quite nicely. Until the 80% of Americans who support real solutions hold the GOP accountable, we won’t resolve this issue in a way that works for our economy, our values and our national security. 

If Republicans were serious about doing what is right for our nation, they certainly wouldn’t use manufactured controversies to justify continued opposition to funding the processing resources we need nor the broader immigration overhaul the nation supports. Republicans are not making a serious effort to advance good policies or serious solutions, they are instead interested in political theater and playing rhetorical gotcha for the Breitbart and Fox News audiences. They prefer the chaos of the broken immigration status quo to serious efforts at solutions.”

On Republicans’ latest rhetorical gotcha on Sec. Mayorkas and “operational control” at the border

That Secretary Mayorkas’ comments are being taken out of context is beside the point to the Republicans’ political attack. Instead, it’s being used as part of the GOP’s latest “evidence” for pursuing a sham impeachment of Mayorkas and manufacturing outrage in their media echo chamber.

  • Of note, judging by the definition of “operational control” used by the GOP Members who cited “The Secure Fence Act of 2006,” no DHS Secretary ever, including anyone serving in that post under Trump, would have met that standard. Even the Berlin Wall would have failed to meet that standard. It’s a goal that can never be met – by design.
  • Moreover, that “operational control” standard as defined in 2006 is not a sensible or beneficial way of gauging how best to maintain an orderly border (see here for more).

Why Republicans want “operational chaos”

As the GOP gears up its perpetual faux outrage machine, it’s worth highlighting that they are not interested in actual solutions or supportive of policies that would alleviate pressure on the border or enact a modernization of our immigration system. Recall:

  • Republican lawsuit and opposition to policies that alleviate border pressures and prevent the trek to the U.S. border – including the Biden administration’s parole program. Despite their relentless talking point decrying border “chaos” and the numbers of encounters with migrants and asylum seekers, Republicans are suiting to block the howling in opposition to the Biden administration’s parole program – a policy granted under current law specifically designed to alleviate pressures at the border, reduce resultant chaos and open up new legal pathways. And remember that Donald Trump and Stephen Miller dismantled other policies that helped provide alternatives to a dangerous trek to the southern border (see here for more).
  • GOP relying on their perpetual “border security first” and “operational control” canards – as excuses to always get to “no” on broader reforms we need and they block. They aren’t really interested in solutions at the border or a larger immigration overhaul to modernize a broken system. It’s a goal that can never be met – by design. As always with “operational control” or “border security first” excuses, they are coded ways to say “legalization or immigration reform never.” As the Wall Street Journal once editorialized: the real goal of Republicans who claim we must ‘secure the border first’ “isn’t border security. It is to use border security as an excuse to kill immigration reform.”
  • Piecemeal approaches don’t work, but that is all the Republicans – and many Democrats – are offering. Recently re-elected Nevada Democratic Senate moderate Catherine Cortez Masto stressed the need for broader solutions in an interview with Steve Inskeep that aired this morning on NPR’s Morning Edition. Sen Cortez Masto hit on the popularity of immigration reform, the need to address chaos at the U.S. Mexico border and the simultaneous need to modernize our immigration system.