tags: Press Releases, Uncategorized

Republicans Embrace Costly Border Stunts, Dangerous Rhetoric and Ugly Politics

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The majority of Americans support immigrants and refugees while the mainstream of the Republican Party is now anti-immigrant and anti-refugee

Washington, DC – The Republican Party, from its leading anti-immigrant zealots to its supposedly mainstream leadership, is embracing an ugly and raw nativism. While Americans have never been more pro-immigration, the GOP has never been more anti-immigrant. Below are examples of Republicans peddling hate and fear in a way that panders to their base but is rejected by most Americans. 

Washington Post: Kevin McCarthy’s border stunt reveals a dark truth about the GOP

A must-read column from the Washington Post’s James Downie eviscerates House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and fellow Republicans for their transparent political stunts around the border. Downie nails it by going after the GOP’s embrace and endorsement of dangerous “invasion” and “replacement” conspiracies – despite the deadly consequences of doing so. Downie writes this about McCarthy’s trip to the southern border today:

“…[it] is more than just a cheap stunt. It’s an admission of a dark truth about the Republican Party … while immigration might not sway the electorate as a whole, it fires up the GOP base that McCarthy wants to keep on his side. 

In his “Fox News Sunday” interview, [Texas GOP Rep. Michael] McCaul – the former chair of the House Homeland Security Committee – encouraged that anger. 

‘Putin invaded Ukraine,’ he told host Sandra Smith. ‘We have an invasion in my home state right on the border, every day.’ He then made reference to the (inflated) 2.5 million migrant encounters that have taken place since Biden’s inauguration. 

Notice that McCaul didn’t limit this comparison to traffickers or criminals trying to cross the border. No, every single person trying to cross — including the tens of thousands seeking asylum and the hundreds of thousands of families and unaccompanied children who are just seeking a better life — is in McCaul’s framing no different from soldiers invading a sovereign nation.

That ‘invasion’ language — a favorite of Trump and white supremacists — has led to bloodshed before. In 2019, a gunman killed 23 people at a Walmart in El Paso after posting an anti-Latino manifesto in which he said the attack was a response to “the Hispanic invasion of Texas.” And lest anyone doubt the partisan component of this hatred, the shooter also expressed fears that changing demographics would ‘make us a Democrat stronghold.’

Responsible leaders would look at such an outcome and reconsider their rhetoric. After the shooting, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) admitted ‘mistakes were made’ in sending out a fundraising call just a day before to ‘defend’ the Texas border. But Abbott’s bout of responsibility was short-lived: By last year, he was again warning that Americans at the border ‘are being invaded.’ This year, he’s shipped buses of migrants to Washington and ordered ‘enhanced’ inspections of all commercial trucks crossing the border. The latter found no drugs or migrants, but it did cost the state $4.2 billion in GDP. Yet, despite this abject failure, Abbott was back on Fox News on Sunday denouncing Biden’s handling of the ‘national disaster’ at the border, with not a word about the trucks.

Abbott, McCaul and McCarthy, whether they admit it or not, recognize that the easiest way to protect their standing in the Republican Party is to embrace the hate and stoke the same bigoted fury that led a man to open fire in a store. Perhaps one day, the GOP’s fever will break. Until it does, this country’s future remains very dark.”

Texas Tribune: Gov. Greg Abbott’s truck inspections stunt: billions wasted, zero drugs detected 

The Texas Tribune reports, “State troopers ordered by Gov. Greg Abbott to inspect every commercial truck coming from Mexico earlier this month — which clogged international trade with Mexico  — found zero drugs, weapons or any other type of contraband, according to data released by the Department of Public Safety.” Meanwhile, “according to an analysis by the Waco-based Perryman Group, the U.S. lost an estimated $8.97 billion due to shipping delays between April 6 and 15, the time in which Abbott’s rule was in effect. Texas alone lost $4.23 billion in gross product,” per the San Antonio Current

Why would Gov. Abbott willingly inflict such economic damage? As the Washington Post recently noted, the “contentious episode underscored what allies and critics alike said is at the core of the conservative stalwart’s political strategy as he seeks a third term for governor this fall and eyes a potential presidential run in 2024: establishing himself as President Biden’s most visible adversary on immigration and the staunchest border hawk in his party.”

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

What do you do when you’re the Republican leader in the House and you want to distract voters and the press from other news? You take a trip to the border! You employ cheap political stunts, costly and wasteful policies and dangerous rhetoric that evokes the kind of strong emotions that often leads to violence. 

Stoking of this fear and hate isn’t happening in a vacuum. The GOP is creating real consequences for immigrants and Americans of all backgrounds. From billions wasted to shore up Greg Abbott’s nativist bona fides to the mainstreaming white nationalist conspiracy theories cited by gunmen in an El Paso Walmart and Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue, the GOP’s embrace of ugly xenophobia has consequences.

Democrats, instead of running from this issue, lean in. Define an inclusive America that is stronger and better than this. Define the GOP as the party of extremism and violence. Define immigrants and refugees as welcome members of a dynamic and diverse America.