Friday, July 19, 2024

Senate GOP picks two of the most anti-immigration members to head subcommittee on immigration


As the State of the Union fever begins to fade from headlines, Senate Republicans reignited tensions over immigration after remaining largely silent following President Obama’s national address Tuesday. The appointments of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) as chair of the Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on immigration and Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) as deputy chair, cement the GOP’s combative position on immigration. Sens. Sessions and Vitter are among the most outspoken critics of immigration – legal, or not.

These appointments provide a potential platform to allow the GOP to finally announce an immigration agenda they are for, not simply one they are united against. Sen. Sessions, however, has been vocal about his unwillingness to increase immigration at all, whether for skilled or unskilled labor, or more simply immigration as a concept in itself, calling the U.S.’ need for more skilled workers a “myth.” He in turn proposed an amendment that would limit the number of immigrants allowed into the country.

The newly appointed leadership of the Senate subcommittee on immigration present the GOP with a larger problem, still: one of unity behind the issue of immigration, as immigration restrictions do not align with immigration reform, for which many Republicans are in favor.

Both Sens. Sessions and Vitter are farther to the right than most Senate Democrats and Republicans alike, by all estimations. What is certain with these appointments is that the GOP is no longer afraid to showcase this hardlining wing as the party’s image in the mass media. If anything, the appointments confirm how immigration will likely be handled in the 114th Congress, under heavy Republican leadership.