For weeks, anti-immigrant conservatives have been trying to use the story of children fleeing violence to claim that the border is not secure — an absurd claim considering that the children coming to the border typically seek out Border Patrol and turn themselves in. In the clip below, Sean Hannity is looking to mock Harry Reid’s recent claim that the border is secure. But when Hannity throws to his correspondent, the correspondent admits that Reid is right. Watch the video below, h/t Faiz Shakir:
Fox News: Harry Reid is Right and the Border is Secure by Van Le on 07/18/14 at 10:26 am
Ted Cruz Call to End DACA & Deport Dreamers Is Now the Mainstream GOP Stance by AV Press Releases on 07/17/14 at 1:24 pm
Does this Mean Most Republicans Are Now ‘Wacko Birds’ Too?
Yesterday, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) made clear that ending DACA was his “top priority” and that eviscerating deportation protections for Dreamers must be a component piece of any congressional action dealing with the Central American child refugees. Far from a “wacko bird,” to borrow Senator John McCain’s characterization of Senator Cruz, his position on ending DACA and deporting Dreamers is now the Republican mainstream stance.
Even though Cruz is the leading conservative provocateur in the Senate, he is well within the mainstream of the GOP in raising concerns over the 2012 program. Critics say the White House provoked the crisis by giving undocumented children false hope they can live in the country without fear of deportation.
That critique was discussed at length at a closed-door Senate GOP lunch on Wednesday, with Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) making a presentation to her colleagues on the situation, senators said. According to a chart the moderate senator distributed to her colleagues, apprehensions of children from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico have more than doubled since the directive was issued two years ago.
That policy applies only to certain undocumented immigrants who arrived to the United States as young people and who have resided continuously in the country from 2007.
After the briefing, South Dakota Sen. John Thune, the No. 3 in GOP leadership, seemed open to the Cruz idea to gut the administration’s 2012 program in exchange for border funds.
“People are discussing the wisdom of that being part of the solution,” Thune said. “Reversing that decision is going to be pretty fundamental to changing the … message that we’re sending to some of those countries.”
Also joining Sen. Cruz in blaming DACA, directly or indirectly, is a wide swath of the Republican Party:
- Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) said in late June, “The president’s own executive orders have led directly to the humanitarian crisis along the southern border, giving false hope to children and their families that if they enter the country illegally, they will be allowed to stay.”
- House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) recently said, “President Obama could quell the border crisis by halting his abuses of prosecutorial discretion, actually enforcing our immigration laws within the interior of the United States, and starting to crack down on fraudulent asylum claims—all of which he has the authority to do now,”
- Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) circulated a letter among his colleagues demanding the repeal of DACA and the deportation of DREAMers: “[T]he very existence of the program contradicts present law and violates the Constitutional principle of a separation of powers which grants primary law making authority to the Congress. The Executive does not get to pick and choose which laws must be enforced and which can be selectively ignored. .. DACA rewards families and individuals who have broken our laws, further encouraging others to seek similar benefits,” he wrote, adding, “Your continued commitment to circumvent Congress and implement policies contrary to the intent of immigration law sends foreign nationals the false hope that administrative amnesty is possible.”
- Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, told the Wall Street Journal that the administration had encouraged these children by relaxing deportations for some in the U.S. illegally and by encouraging an overhaul of immigration law. “It is beyond dispute that such a narrative shapes behavior and encourages people to come to our country illegally,” he said.
- Rep. Steve King R-IA: As early as June 2012, King was attempting to defund DACA and subject Dreamers to deportation. King said back then in a Facebook Post: “The administration has directed law enforcement officials to provide amnesty to illegal aliens unless they pose a threat to the President’s reelection. This amendment will begin to reverse the damage already done while setting our nation back on the right path.” Adding in June 2013 during a speech on the House floor that the “The President has suspend immigration law by the stroke executive amnesty.” Twice this Congress, Speaker Boehner has scheduled votes on measures from Rep. King to defund DACA.
- Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX): In 2012, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) said, “Well, let me assuage concerns by the Anti-Defamation League, but the policies of this administration are luring young people—children—into this country, mainly being sent by adults, because of the policy of trying to create amnesty for children.”
- Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL): In 2011, Senator Jeff Sessions released a report documenting that the “Obama Regime’s Administrative Amnesty” is much wider that previously understood. Recently, he wrote to his colleagues: “Certainly, DACA and the President’s other numerous unlawful policies must be terminated…But as a first step, Congress must not acquiesce to spending more taxpayer dollars until the President unequivocally rescinds his threat of more illegal executive action.”
Perhaps Senator Cruz – and the GOPers who are parroting his position – should heed the Senator’s own political analysis. Shortly after the 2012 elections, Senator Cruz told Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker:
If Republicans do not do better in the Hispanic community, in a few short years Republicans will no longer be the majority party in our state…If that happens, no Republican will ever again win the White House…The Republican Party would cease to exist. We would become like the Whig Party. Our kids and grandkids would study how this used to be a national political party. “They had Conventions, they nominated Presidential candidates. They don’t exist anymore.”
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
Senator Cruz has declared war on Dreamers, who are Americans in all but paperwork. Good luck with that, Senator. He and others in the GOP seem to believe that a Presidential action in June 2012 on behalf of long-established young people who arrived in the U.S. before June 2007 spurred an exodus of young people from three specific Central American countries in June 2014. Good luck explaining to Latino voters how it is sensible or just to use the occasion of an 8-year old fleeing violence and arriving at our border as rationale for trying to deport a 20-year old college student who’s been living here for a decade.
TRAC Data: Children With Lawyers in Immigration Court Five Times More Likely to be Able to Stay by Van Le on 07/17/14 at 1:03 pm
An startling analysis of DHS data by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at University Syracuse University shows that only one out of ten child refugees who appeared without an attorney before an immigration judge were allowed to stay in the United States.
By contrast, five out of ten children who had legal representation in court were allowed to remain. Unfortunately, of the more than 100,000 cases obtained by TRAC, almost half the children who did appear before a judge did so without an attorney.
The data also found that two-thirds of unaccompanied minors who turned themselves in at the border and then were released came back for their court hearings, with children fleeing violence from Honduras and El Salvador being particularly likely to show for court dates. A chart from Vox illustrates:
Must-Read News on Immigration Reform, July 17, 2014 by Van Le on 07/17/14 at 10:00 am
New York Times: Border Crisis Casts Shadow Over Obama’s Immigration Plan
National Journal: Why Won’t Obama Call These Kids Refugees?
Wall Street Journal: Public Support for Path to Legal Status for Illegal Immigrants Slips
Associated Press: White House Faces Broad Resistance On Border Bill
Politico: Ron Barber backs Cornyn-Cuellar plan
Politico: Hill divisions deepen on border crisis
Politico: Cruz’s next fight: Immigration
Wall Street Journal: Children Fare Better in U.S. Immigrant Courts if They Have an Attorney
Washington Post: Honduran child migrants leave home because of poverty and violence
Washington Post: Children trying to sneak into the U.S. aren’t always alone
New York Times: Towns Fight to Avoid Taking In Migrant Minors
Washington Post: The public’s concerns over immigration just skyrocketed
National Journal: Americans Really Worry About Immigration When They Pay Attention to It
Washington Post: O’Malley , Obama aides spar over unaccompanied immigrant children
BuzzFeed: Martin O’Malley Gets Aggressive
National Journal: Immigration Isn’t A Slam-Dunk Issue for Democrats Anymore
USA Today: Fact check: Legal immigration down, not up
National Journal: The Surprising South Carolina Evangelicals Who Support Immigration
Associated Press (Arizona): Arizona protesters mistake busload of YMCA campers for immigrant children
Washington Post (Plum Line): Republicans may get one more chance to kill immigration reform
Washington Post (The Fix): Comprehensive immigration reform is dead. The border crisis should prevent its reincarnation.
New York Times (Opinion): Tears for the Border Children
U.S. News & World Report (Opinion): Playing the Immigration Blame Game
The Hill (Congress Blog): Will the president do what he can on immigration?
The Hill (Congress Blog): DC open secret: Immigration’s good for economy
Washington Post (Opinion): U.S. should have tried nation-building in Central America, not Iraq and Afghanistan
National Journal (Opinion): Future U.S. Military Readiness Depends on Immigration Reform
Arizona Republic (Arizona – Editorial): ‘Sheriff Showboat’ Babeu has disgraced the office
Dallas Morning News (Texas – Editorial): Editorial: Thwarting the migrant smugglers
Herald-Review (Illinois – Editorial): The real failure of immigration reform
Deseret News (Utah – Editorial): In our opinion: Children immigrants entering U.S. may end up as refugees — and Utah should be ready to help
Houston Chronicle (Texas – Opinion): Which immigration problem do we care about?
Central American Kids at the Border Emergency Brings Out the Best and Worst of America by AV Press Releases on 07/16/14 at 12:57 pm
Washington, DC – The fast-developing story regarding Central American unaccompanied children arriving at our border is bringing out the best – and the worst – in America.
While an increasing number of elected officials and commentators are determined to keep the focus on the well-being of children fleeing violence, others are intent to use the crisis to demonize kids and distort the immigration debate. It is said that every controversy revolves around the essential question, “what type of country are we?” If so, we have two very different visions on display.
Leading editorial voices from top Spanish language and English language outlets remind us that how we respond to children in need is a basic test of our national character. An editorial from the leading Spanish language newspaper La Opinión notes:
“The United States is a nation of laws. There must also be a fair legal system to enforce these laws. In other words, don’t put a 10-year-old, who doesn’t even speak the language, alone in a courtroom to face the legal arguments of the adults who want to deport him or her. To do so is an embarrassment.”
“The border crisis is bringing out the worst in the immigration debate. Right-wingers are lying about migrant children carrying deadly diseases. And Republicans like Mr. Cornyn – who for nearly a decade has been one of the worst saboteurs of immigration reform in Congress – are forgetting themselves. In their eagerness to attack President Obama and score points from a humanitarian emergency, they are ignoring what even Glenn Beck understands: These are innocent children.”
And Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart added his own irreverent take on the situation, noting:
“I was always taught by my parents to follow the ‘Golden Rule.’ Whenever you see a kid in trouble…yell at them in a language they don’t understand” (Stewart’s segment is must-see TV).
Meanwhile, Senate Democrats are drawing a line in the sand about their opposition to legislation like the so-called HUMANE Act introduced by Senate Republican John Cornyn (R-TX) and House Democrat Henry Cuellar (D-TX). Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) made clear his opposition. And Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) said:
“If the House tries to change that law [a 2008 anti-trafficking law] , it’ll never pass over here. I won’t let it pass.”
On the other side of the aisle, anti-immigrant Republicans are busy trying to peddle ugly stereotypes about the unaccompanied minors while attempting to use the crisis to advance anti-immigrant goals. For example, Rep. Michele Bachman referred to the minors as “invaders,”while Rep. Rich Nugent (R-FL) said on a radio talk show:
“A lot of these children…quote-unquote…ya know, the first caller mentioned it, ya know, they’re gang members. They’re gang affiliated.”
Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who remains fixated on trying to blame the crisis of child migrants fleeing Central America on the DACA program for DREAMers, yesterday circulated a Dear Colleague letter that stated, “I write to inform you of a development that threatens the foundation of our constitutional Republic,” before attempting to link any funding to address the crisis to rescinding DACA and potential executive action building on that program.
Stirred by anti-immigrant Sheriff Paul Babeu, Arizona Republican congressional candidate Adam Kwasman protested a bus of local children traveling to the YMCA in the mistaken belief they were child migrants from Central America heading to a shelter. Kwasman even trumpeted that he saw “the fear on their faces.”
Perhaps Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo captured it best, when he writes:
“I think we’ve uncovered the true border crisis. Innocent kids happily sitting on their YMCA buses heading out to camp for the standard day of monkey bars and bow-and-arrows and swimming, suddenly surrounded by crowds of anti-immigrant freak shows, mistaken them for migrant children heading to some detention center and threatening to pick up their buses and carry them back over the border back into Mexico.”
Follow Frank Sharry and America’s Voice on Twitter @FrankSharry and @AmericasVoice.
America’s Voice – Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform
Arizona legislator mobs YMCA-bound bus after thinking it was full of child refugees by Gabe Ortiz on 07/16/14 at 11:29 am
File this epic fail from Arizona under “I’d Be Laughing If It Weren’t So Tragic.”
Republican Congressional hopeful and state legislator Adam Kwasman invited himself to a protest in Oracle, where yet another group of adults had gathered to bravely scream at a rumored bus of child refugees that would be coming through the area.
At one point, Kwasman — who according to his Wiki page is a former Sunday School teacher — tweeted “Bus coming in. This is not compassion. This is the abrogation of the rule of law.”
But as Kwasman and his group of “I Support Sheriff Joe” sign-holding vigilantes mobbed the yellow bus, they failed to realize that it was in fact full of local kids headed to the YMCA.
“Last tweet not the bus of illegal immigrant children. Thank God,” Kwasman tweeted right after (“Thank God”? Jesus never said “Let only the children with papers come to me”).
He deleted the initial tweet, but the damage had already been done after local media latched onto the fact that Kwasman and his boneheaded compatriots had in reality mobbed little Suzy on her way to jump rope.
Kwasman tried explaining that he thought they were undocumented kids since he “saw fear on [their] faces,” but as the Arizona Republic points out, “12 News reporter Will Pitts, who [was] at the protest scene, says he saw the children laughing and taking pictures of the media.”
Or maybe they were just laughing at Kwasman? Either way, when we said that Republicans need to start reaching out to Latinos in order to survive as a national party, we didn’t mean chase down busses full of Latino kids.
Watch video of Kwasman’s awkward encounter with the Arizona Republic here.