It’s no surprise that some of the Republicans listed in the report are among Congress’ most notorious anti-immigrant loudmouths, including Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, Arizona Rep. Debbie Lesko, and Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn, with all of them already having ties to hate groups or a history of racist speech.
When Cotton introduced a so-called “legal immigration” bill during the previous administration that actually slashed legal immigration to the U.S., Tanton network group FAIR was among those cheering the legislation, calling it “the perfect bill.” Despite its misleading name, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, much like Cotton, wants a stop to immigration, period. Cotton also infamously lied about the previous White House occupant’s use of the “shit hole countries” slur to describe African nations in 2018, claiming he didn’t recall it. Interesting how Cotton can’t remember what the president said right in front of him, but he can remember tweets from Biden’s appointees.
Blackburn, meanwhile, used “invasion” terminology to describe immigration at the southern border in Facebook ads several times in 2018, Media Matters reported in 2019. This is the same wording used by the white supremacist terrorist who went to El Paso that year to shoot and kill Mexicans. In her Facebook ads, Blackburn was even more incendiary. “In one ad, Blackburn’s Facebook page referred to the caravan as an ‘illegal alien mob marching on our border’ and ‘an invading force that must be stopped,” Media Matters said.
Following the massacre at the El Paso Walmart, FAIR tried to distance itself from the white supremacist terrorist even though he and these Tanton network groups “shared similar views on immigrants,” The Washington Post reported at the time. To prove that point, the leader of another Tanton network group, Center for Immigration Studies Executive Director Mark Krikorian, called the white supremacist terrorist’s manifesto “remarkably well-written for a 21-year-old loner.”
Lazko, meanwhile, last month “praised” Latinos as “very good workers” (how very generous, thanks, I guess) but basically said we weren’t real Americans and should go to the back of the COVID-19 vaccine line, Arizona Republic reported last month. “I worked with people that are Hispanic. I mean they’re very good workers,” she said during a House hearing. “You know, we’re compassionate people, but for goodness sakes, we have to take care of American citizens, or people that are here legally, first.
“The call to repeat the ‘border crisis’ language also appeared in a memo from the House Republican Study Committee that urged party members to use the term and blame it on President Biden,” Willis continued.
Congressional Republicans and other right-wing leaders across the nation have spewed this gross rhetoric and despicable fearmongering for the Biden administration’s crime of trying to go back to follow U.S. asylum law and allowing families a chance to seek protections in the United States. Republicans are launching these attacks even as only a small number of asylum-seekers currently enrolled in the winding-down anti-asylum Remain in Mexico policy have actually been able to reenter the U.S. so far.
Advocates have further condemned the fact that the Stephen Miller-led policy quickly expelling most asylum-seekers out of supposed pandemic concerns remains in place. Because asylum-seeking children who arrive to the U.S. without a parent are now excluded from that policy, America’s Voice leader Frank Sharry notes that “Republicans are trying to make the uptick in the arrival of children seeking safety and refuge a ‘crisis’ in hopes of undermining the Biden immigration agenda.”
While the administration has announced steps to expedite the safe release of children to U.S. sponsors, advocates have also criticized the announced reopening of large-scale camps that are not subject to the same licensing standards as smaller facilities. Advocates say small licensed facilities with trained child welfare professional are more appropriate, with length of time held as short as possible while sponsors are reached and vetted. What we must always remember is that these are children, and we have an obligation and duty to treat them as humanely and compassionately as possible. This should not be an impossible task for the richest and most powerful nation on earth.