Republicans’ Immigration Plans for the 2022 Primaries Leave a Lot to be Desired

As long as establishment Republicans are in control of their party, real immigration reform should not be expected. 

Neil Munro of Breitbart News highlighted this in a recent piece showing that House Republican leaders offered “little or no benefit to the many working Americans who oppose President Joe Biden’s wave of economic migrants” in their immigration platform for the 2022 midterms.

New York Congressman John Katko is the current head of the newly established American Security Task Force. Munro precisely observed that Katko is the “leadership-picked chairman” of this task force.

“From finishing the border wall system to modernizing technology and bolstering border staffing, this legislation tackles key shortcomings and weaknesses,” Katko outlined in a statement that listed off the task force’s policy goals,

“That’s all there is to it?” remarked Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies. Krikorian also called attention to how the bill does not feature provisions that close legal loopholes with regards to border security, namely, catch-and-release rules:

It is pretty weak. I’m not against it, but it will not address the border crisis. The border crisis is primarily driven by loopholes in the law that everybody is aware of, not by a lack of equipment or personnel. I don’t dispute there almost certainly are personnel and equipment needs, but that’s not the main problem here.

Munro listed how the current Biden administration has used legal loopholes to bring migrants by the hundreds of thousands: 

Since January, President Joe Biden’s deputies have used those loopholes to help bring 600,000 migrants across the border, even as they reassure swing voters that they are operating a “humane, orderly and safe immigration system.” That inflow includes roughly 300,000 job-seeking, wage-cutting migrants who were allowed to sneak across the border, and often, to climb across President Donald Trump’s border wall.

In the previous Trump administration, House GOP leaders  put forward a bill to shut down loopholes while concurrently funding Trump’s border wall. Krikorian added more of his thoughts:

The border crisis is indisputably driven by these loopholes in the [border] law that Republicans proposed to plug a couple of years ago … Everybody knows what the problem is. Republicans were on board with fixing it and it’s kind of curious that a border-focussed attempt at consensus legislation wouldn’t include the problems that are driving the border, the border crisis.

Simply put, Katko’s bill would instruct Biden to do what previous Congresses have already done with regards to border policy. Munro observed that “Biden’s deputies have simply ignored critical elements of Congress’s immigration law, refused to deport foreign criminals, and have refused to spend border-wall construction funds appropriated by Congress in 2020.”

The bill is co-sponsored by GOP House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, and Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik.

“It feels like an attempt to do the least possible to be seen [by voters] as addressing the border crisis, the … a minimalist response to Biden’s disaster on the border,” Krikorian continued “They’re not presenting a coherent alternative vision. They’re just hoping they can get away with a minimal response.”

Munro highlighted how the GOP’s strategy for the 2022 midterms is putting immigration on the backburner:

For example, Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) chairs the GOP’s campaign group, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC). On June 24, he ranked the issues that the NRCC will emphasize in the 2022 race, saying, “You’ve got to have the right message … [and] our third battleground poll of the cycle has shown right now, it’s inflation, its rising prices, it’s the crime wave, it’s the border.”

Munro exposed Katko’s voting record which shows that he is no immigration patriot:

Moreover, Katko’s task force only includes one recognized advocate for working Americans — Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) — alongside several pro-migration advocates. For example, Katko and three other members on the 14-member task force voted in March for a Democrat amnesty bill that would displace many Americans from agriculture jobs and provide the Democrats with millions of government-dependent voters.

“John Katko is the typical corporate Republican,” an individual who is firmly embedded in immigration restriction politics said to Breitbart News back in June. This individual continued:

He speaks a great game on illegal immigration, and is sorrowfully bad on legal immigration to the United States. He has never found a guest worker program he does not support, he’s never found a legal immigration program he does not think should be expanded, and I don’t think that he considers immigration as something that affects working Americans.

According to another source who was in contact with Breitbart News, the de-emphasis on immigration is largely due to GOP leadership’s shift in political priorities. The immigration activist source expanded on this development:

I found that there is a really interesting, aggressive core of freshmen House members. They have told me that their [GOP] leadership has essentially pulled them aside and said “Shut up.” In other words, don’t do anything aggressive [such as] oversight letters and hearings. They said, “Leadership has, in several different ways, ranging from explicit to implicit, said, ‘Stand down, be quiet, let the Democrats sink themselves.’”

What we’re seeing here is a GOP leadership that is aloof to the concerns of grassroots conservatives. At the end of the day, these people cannot be trusted to learn the error of their ways. They must feel pressure from below, namely in the form of populist candidates who will challenge the status quo and bring issues to the fore that party leadership refuses to talk about.

At the end of the day, populist insurgents must be proactive about the change they want to see in the Republican Party and they will have to ruffle some feathers in the GOP establishment.

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