On Tuesday, in response to efforts by San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro to plea options for immigration reform, House Republicans continued to characterize a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants as an ‘extreme.’
According to Republican Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, the option of a pathway to citizenship for these individuals is as extreme as “mass deportation” – a sentiment that was echoed the next day by Republicans Lamar Smith (Texas), Elton Gallegly (California), and Steve King (Iowa) at their infamously named “Holiday on ICE” hearing on immigration detention reform.
Castro disputed Goodlatte’s exaggeration, “I do believe that a pathway to citizenship should be the option that Congress selects – I don’t see that as an extreme option. I would disagree with the characterization of that as ‘extreme.’”
What is extreme is Gallegy’s analogy of U.S. immigration detention centers as ‘posh detention facilities.’ At the “Holiday on ICE” hearing, Republicans described the detention facilities as being like “college campuses,” and that the rules regulating them are equivalent to ‘hospitality guidelines’.
200 reported instances of sexual abuse and a lawsuit filed by the ACLU support Representative Lofgren’s reply, “I didn’t think that it’s ‘hospitality guideline’ to prevent rape of detainees, women who have done nothing wrong, to prevent death of detainees.”
When asked by the Huffington Post about what standards he thought should be met by detention facilities, Gallegy remarked, “Our standards should not be lower than the country that they’re coming from.”
It would seem that House Republicans are of the opinion that immigration isn’t in need of serious reform. However, the issue of immigration reform continues to divide the House despite the People’s resounding support for immigration reform in last year’s election and current polls indicating the People continue to support the president. One can’t help but ask if mischaracterization and misinformation from the Right are to blame for the lack of progress.