Thursday, May 23, 2024

Comentarios From Maria: New Republican Congress Gets Off on the Wrong Foot


Last week, I wrote about the optimism we all should have for this year, with more collaboration and progress. Yet it appears Republicans in the new Congress are not interested in breaking the vicious cycle of obstructionism from the last Congress. This week, Rep. Robert Aderholt, a Republican from Alabama, proposed legislation that would effectively sequester important Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding in an effort to block President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. This latest attempt only highlights the fact that Republicans will stop at nothing to obstruct the president, without regard for the damage it would do to our country and our community.

When the president announced his executive orders, he challenged Republican representatives to propose a viable alternative. Instead of accepting this challenge,  they have channeled their efforts into solidifying their reputation as the party of obstructionism; this latest proposal only evokes the most intolerant and anti-immigrant voices in Congress.

Aderholt’s plan is extreme, even by the standards of the most extreme members of the party. Under this proposal, the provisions of the executive order that would protect more than 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation and allow them to seek work permits would be eliminated. The legislation also aims to continue the federal program Secure Communities, even though Obama ended the program because it in fact harmed many of our communities.

Apart from the serious consequences and implications of this proposal for the Latino community, there are also grave repercussions for DHS’s workforce. Currently, the DHS employs the largest percentage of Latinos of any other government agency; therefore, if this proposal is approved, Republicans will once again demonstrate that they are unwilling to look out for the interests of Latinos who work hard to protect and contribute to our country.

What is truly disconcerting is that Republicans are seriously considering this legislation according to Republican Whip, Rep. Steve Scalise – who incidentally admitted to having spoken to a White Supremacist group, European – American Unity and Rights Organization, founded by David Duke, a former member of the Ku Klux Klan. This plan and this leadership do not represent a path forward. This law is the worst thing that this Congress can do for our resurging economy, the security of our borders, and the future of our community. It also proves that republicans are not interested in governing, and only seek to go against the president.

With the 2016 election season rapidly approaching, Republicans must wake up and realize that if they hope to survive as a party and one day win the White House, they cannot continue to alienate the Latino community. I hope that wiser voices within the Republican Party will end the possibility of approving this deplorable legislation.

This piece originally appeared in Spanish in the Washington Hispanic.