New Backgrounder Highlights the Most Important CA House Member on Immigration That You’ve Never Heard Of
Washington – A new backgrounder from America’s Voice profiles Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA), the most important California Member of Congress dealing with immigration that you’ve never heard of. But if his hard line views become law he could ruin the state’s economy – and further doom his party’s prospects with Latino voters in California and beyond. Among the key points in the new backgrounder:
Different Topics, Same Old Mass-Deportation Policy Goal: Rep. Gallegly is the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration, where he works in concert with Representatives Lamar Smith and Steve King on a strategy they call “attrition through enforcement.” That’s code for mass deportation of all undocumented immigrants currently living in our country. Thus far in his subcommittee chairmanship, Gallegly’s hearings have attempted to blame immigrants for a variety of economic woes, while resorting to a consistent policy solution – deport ‘em all.
A Long History of Attacking Immigrant Children: Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) and other recent advocates of changing the U.S. Constitution’s birthright citizenship component should credit Rep. Gallegly’s foresight – Gallegly has been trying to strip birthright citizenship from the children of undocumented immigrants since 1991. But that’s not the only issue where Gallegly targets children. In fact, in the mid-1990s, Gallegly attempted to create a national version of California’s notorious Proposition 187 and kick young children out of school. Republicans’ advocacy for Proposition 187 is largely credited for turning California blue, following the backlash that ensued from Latino voters.
His Plan to Decimate California’s Economy: Gallegly’s vision, if implemented, would decimate the California and U.S. economy. California’s economy, from Silicon Valley to the Central Valley and much of the rest of the state, relies on the labor of immigrants. A 2008 study by the California Immigrant Policy Center concluded that “immigrants in California pay roughly $30 billion in federal taxes, $5.2 billion in state income taxes, and $4.6 billion in sales taxes each year,” and that within California, “the average immigrant-headed household contributes a net $2,679 annually to Social Security, which is $539 more than the average US-born household.” Additionally, the study noted that “immigrants are among California’s most productive entrepreneurs and have created jobs for tens of thousands of Californians.” Rather than requiring undocumented immigrants to legalize their status and ensure every worker and employer is paying his fair share of taxes, Gallegly wants to spend billions more taxpayer dollars deporting immigrants. What would happen to the California economy—and agriculture industry—if he gets his way?
Political Consequences of Gallegly’s Outreach Plan to Latinos: Immigration is a top-tier political issue for Latinos. And, in California, Latinos are a massive and growing political force – just ask Meg Whitman or Carly Fiorina about the hazards of adopting a hard-line immigration position in California. Yet Rep. Gallegly’s vision for outreach to the Latino community seems to consist of smiling while he pledges to send more immigrants packing. Without credible alternative voices on immigration in other corners of the Republican Party, Gallegly’s vision will define the GOP in California and nationwide at the worst possible time, as new Census data make clear.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “Though some may have thought that the elevation of Elton Gallegly as Immigration Subcommittee Chair, instead of Steve King, was a triumph of moderation over extremism, nothing could be further from the truth. Gallegly has a 20-year record of attacking immigrant kids and advancing policy ideas that are bad politics and worse economic policy.”
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