There they go again. You’d think that with Republicans still licking their wounds after a humiliating defeat in their four month battle to tie immigration action to DHS funding, they’d send their anti-immigrant obsession off on a small vacation.
You’d think that, but you’d be wrong.
Instead, both chambers of the Republican-controlled Congress are continuing their crusade against immigrant families this week, with no less than six hearings on immigration scheduled through Thursday. This would be great news if these hearings were focused on finding humane, permanent relief for immigrant parents, DREAMers, and the millions of others waiting for Congress to finally fix our nation’s broken immigration system.
Among the noxious hearings include a comprehensive mass-deportation bill from the House Judiciary Committee today. As Phil Wolgin of the Center for American Progress assesses:
“The House Judiciary Committee is taking up a bill this week that would make felons out of the vast majority of undocumented immigrants overnight. The bill would repeal the president’s November 20 immigration directives, which would give 5 million parents and DREAMers temporary legal protection and work authorization; make illegal presence a crime rather than a civil offense; and overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in Arizona v. United States, which rightfully struck down much of S.B.1070, Arizona’s law that put state and local enforcement of immigration on steroids. Taken together, all the bill’s provisions amount to a strategy for comprehensive mass deportation.”
Tomorrow, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) will preside over a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing for the first time – and will use the occasion to again elevate Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach onto the national stage. Kobach, one of the notorious architects of Mitt Romney’s “self-deportation” concept, will be a witness at Cruz’s hearing (subtly titled, “Reining in Amnesty: Texas v. United States and Its Implications”). If possible, Kobach seems to have gone even further off the deep end since we last heard from him, recently seeming to agree with a caller into his radio show who predicted that President Obama will stop prosecuting African-Americans for crimes. In response to this latest dust-up, and Kobach’s long history of insensitivity, Kansas Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley recently called Kobach “the most racist politician in America.”
Meanwhile, one of yesterday’s three hearings, “Securing the Southwest Border: Perspectives from Beyond the Beltway,” focused on a border bill that has already been slammed by faith and community groups as yet another attempt to further militarize border communities “and trample on the rights of tens of millions of residents who call border communities home.” One of witnesses for the Republicans, Border Patrol union leader Chris Cabrera, has been a popular go-to man for extremists like Alabama’s Jeff Sessions, and used his forum to claim that the border is not secure (but even Fox News would tell him that’s just not so).
And in the House yesterday, Republicans held a hearing on “The Fiscal Costs of the President’s Executive Actions on Immigration.” Unsurprisingly, the hearing managed to ignore the fact that the states have hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues to gain from immigration action — even the states like Texas who ran to Judge Hanen to issue a stop to the President’s immigration program.
All of this immigrant-bashing is playing out against the long-delayed confirmation of Loretta Lynch as the first African-American female Attorney General in American history. Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL) have convinced their GOP caucus to turn into referendum on immigration.
Republicans promised “responsible governance” after taking Congress. But with the hearings on display this week, especially in light of their DHS debacle, it looks like we’re getting everything but responsible governance. Remarkably, it appears the Republicans’ anti-immigrant obsession is actually getting worse.