tags: Press Releases

“The Harms of Republicans’ Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric” – Vanessa Cárdenas Op-Ed, ICYMI

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Read the new op-ed in The Messenger HERE

Washington, DC – The Messenger has published a new op-ed by America’s Voice Executive Director Vanessa Cárdenas, “The Harms of Republicans’ Anti-immigrant Rhetoric.” The main point is that the nativism that now grips the Republican Party has stalled all progress on the issue, which has problematic economic, political, and humanitarian consequences, and furthermore, the embrace of extremism and white nationalist conspiracies “is not just harmful and divisive, but dangerous.” The op-ed is available in full online HERE, and translated into Spanish HERE from America’s Voice in Espanol. 

Below, read key excerpts of the new op-ed

“In 2013, immigration was an issue that divided Republicans. Now, that ‘loud contingent’ is nearly unanimous within the GOP, taking a nativist stance of intense opposition to those not born on American soil. Anti-immigrant sentiment appears to be the beating heart of the MAGA Republicans, who have a strong hold on the party. Note that every single House Republican, led by far-right Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), recently voted to advance the potential impeachment of President Biden over immigration.

Yet, it seems we have become numb to the scope and consequences of Republicans’ anti-immigrant descent. A true audit of the GOP’s nativism would not only tally the damaging policies enacted and the needed policies obstructed but also be clear-eyed about the proven real-world dangers of nativist immigration rhetoric championed by many Republicans and the amplification of harmful conspiracies. 

America still desperately needs a modernization of our immigration system — to bolster our economy now and in the future. Yet, Republicans are still blocking the modernization we need nationally while offering state-based reminders about the costs of their nativist vision. 

Witness Florida in the aftermath of the passage of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’s signature anti-immigrant legislation. Already, workers and families are fleeing and key voices in the hospitality, construction and agriculture industries are expressing worry about the economic impact. That DeSantis seems to think the smart political thing to do for his primary campaign is to take aim at immigrants — even if it harms his state’s economy and turn his back on Florida’s proud tradition as an immigrant-friendly state — is a telling indictment of current Republican talking points on immigration.

Meanwhile, contrary to right-wing and GOP apocalyptic predictions about the end of Title 42 pandemic-era immigration policies, the number of migrants encountered at the border has plummeted. While the factors behind the drop in crossings are many, including restrictions I do not support, it’s a data point that Republicans should be celebrating, given their supposed priorities. Yet, they are continuing their political attacks as if their predictions of post-Title 42 chaos had come true, such as the repeated falsehood that we have “open borders.” 

Most consequentially, nativism is not just harmful and divisive, but dangerous. This week a white-nationalist shooter who killed 23 people in a racially motivated attack at an El Paso Walmart in 2019 was sentenced to 90 consecutive life sentences and could face the death penalty. This came just weeks after the conviction of the 2018 Tree of Life synagogue shooter in Pittsburgh and the one-year anniversary of the 2022 Buffalo grocery store mass killing. Each of these perpetrators cited stopping the ‘invasion’ of non-white Americans and immigrants and the false “Great Replacement Theory” as motivation for their actions. 

Yet, despite real-world reminders about the dangers of these lies, some Republicans have escalated the use of such narratives since these white-nationalist terror attacks and nearly half reportedly agree with the conspiracy theory. My organization, America’s Voice, has found more than 550 examples of elected Republicans and campaigns that amplified the “invasion” and ‘replacement’ conspiracy theory in the year since Buffalo, as well as two dozen examples from House GOP congressional hearings this year. The same ‘replacement’ and ‘invasion’ narrative courses through DeSantis’ immigration plan, the Republicans’ rationale for a baseless Biden impeachment and their perpetual ‘border security first’ excuse for why it’s never time for a real legislative modernization. 

We need Congress and the Republican Party to come to the table on real bipartisan solutions to fix a broken immigration system. Instead, we get relentless politicized disinformation, harmful policy and dangerous incitement. It’s incumbent on all of us, including the dwindling number of pro-immigrant Republicans who have a different vision of America, to not allow the nativist descent to be further normalized, to call out dangerous extremism and to push for balanced immigration solutions that offer both order and justice.”