Washington, DC – House Republicans are using their newfound majority to again remind us who they really are. As Democrats increasingly recognize the need to lean in on immigration solutions, the contrast between the parties on the issue is growing sharper and more consequential.
According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice: “Of course House Republicans are tripping over themselves to file the first new impeachment articles against DHS Secretary Mayorkas. The GOP prefers show trials instead of real solutions on immigration policy, content to ignore the real threats to public safety in favor of relentless nativism and demagoguery that fuels more hate and violence. The United States can manage the complicated challenges of forced and regional migration, despite a Republican Party intent on maintaining the broken status quo and touting a perpetual ‘crisis’ for political reasons.”
- GOP gears up “impeach Mayorkas” show trials instead of solutions: Rep. Pat Fallon (R-TX) filed articles of impeachment against DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas this week, claiming that Secretary Mayorkas has “willfully abdicated his duties” regarding the southern border. Not to be outdone, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) promised to introduce his own updated impeachment resolution against Secretary Mayorkas “shortly” (whistling past his own connections to the Oath Keepers and associations with January 6th.)
None of this is new – recall that even before President Biden took office, Republicans were hellbent on their “open borders” attacks (see former Acting ICE Director Tom Homan in August 2020 blaming Biden for a 40% increase in border crossings that was occurring under Trump, five months before Biden’s inauguration). Since then, the countless GOP delegations to the border have been all about politics – photo ops for Fox News and fundraising appeals – instead of a policy vision.
- Republicans ignore real threats in favor of more nativism and dangerous conspiracies that fuel actual violence: The new House GOP impeachment push and soon-to-be introduced sets of anti-immigrant legislation continue their obsessions from the 2022 midterms, when Republicans issued more than 3,200 different paid communications on anti-immigrant themes, including on dangerous “invasion” and “replacement” conspiracies. These are the same lies peddled by past gunmen in El Paso, Buffalo and Pittsburgh AND have been a ubiquitous part of the Republicans’ push for impeachment, threatening even more violence today.
Witness that just this week, an El Paso man threatened a group of migrants with a gun while claiming that he was “doing it for America.” In late December, DHS warned of potential violence from “domestic violent extremists” tied to the potential lifting of Title 42, expanding on their terrorism advisory bulletin from late November that outlined renewed threats to LGBTQ, Jewish, and migrant communities from domestic actors, spurred in part by “potential changes in border enforcement policy, an increase in noncitizens attempting to enter the U.S. or other immigration-related developments.”
- The contrast between the parties is growing more clear: Increasingly, Democrats are engaging on immigration and border issues, intent to no longer cede the debate to Republicans and correctly calling out the GOP for political demagoguery instead of working on real solutions. As Greg Sargent of the Washington Post noted today, referring to the large contingent of border state Democrats in Congress, “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.”
While Biden’s new policy approach gets the balance wrong – the creation of new legal pathways doesn’t nearly make up for expanding Title 42 and the proposed draconian asylum transit ban – other Democrats are sounding the right notes.
As Rep. Greg Casar (D-TX) said: “Democrats have to prioritize fixing the immigration system. Otherwise we’ll continue in this vicious cycle. The more broken the system is, the more Republicans will fill the vacuum with stunts.”
Or as Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) assessed, “For years, Republicans have blocked progress on immigration reform so they can continue to use immigrants as a political football. There’s no question our immigration system is broken — it’s time to get to work fixing it while centering humanity, dignity, and justice.”