The Judiciary Committee’s first hearing under the new Republican House saw GOP lawmakers shamelessly promoting, as predicted, the debunked lie that the devastating fentanyl crisis is tied to immigration. Despite government data showing that it’s overwhelmingly U.S. citizens and permanent residents who’ve been caught (keyword: caught) with drugs at ports of entry, committee chair Jim Jordan went into the hearing already deciding that U.S. fentanyl deaths were a result of a so-called “border crisis.”
Republican members were subsequently so incensed about being fact-checked, that they launched an attack on a reporter from The Washington Post after he’d called a lie by anti-asylum zealot Chip Roy a “rather insidious falsehood.” The Judiciary Committee’s Twitter account accused the outlet of “lying on behalf of Democrats.” Nah, you’ve just had your feelings hurt.
RELATED STORY: Sizable numbers of Americans are believing lies about migrants and fentanyl, so-called open borders
“The whole thing is infuriating,” tweeted American Immigration Council Policy Director Aaron Reichlin-Melnick. He wrote that The Washington Post’s Nick Miroff and his colleagues “have done intensive investigation into fentanyl smuggling, including interviewing US law enforcement, Mexican law enforcement, and smugglers themselves.” He pointed to “decades of evidence” showing that seizures are mostly through ports of entry and are tied to people with legal U.S. status.
Republican members, having one of their biggest talking points pulled out from under them during their theatrical event, then just resorted to basically sticking their tongues out at fact-checkers. “So by posting this, which denies reality and ignores the real problems,” House Republicans are “effectively saying they don't want to find any concrete solutions,” Reichlin-Melnick continued in his thread.
But let’s not also give off the impression that Republicans were a pack of clueless dopes who can’t find their asses with both hands (though they often do engage in very dumb antics). Notably, during the hearing, Jordan accused the Biden administration of intentionally sparking the so-called border crisis claimed by Republicans. Why is this such a dangerous claim? Because it’s “an implicit reference to the deadly white nationalist replacement theory,” America’s Voice Political Director Zachary Mueller said.
That antisemitic theory has been promoted by racist mass killers and GOP lawmakers alike, with some of those lawmakers sitting on House committees today, America’s Voice noted. Now we have the chair of the Judiciary Committee on the record pushing it, further proving how the party has embraced violent extremism. But Republican members during the hearing also echoed “invasion” rhetoric used by the El Paso gunman and other mass murderers, NPR said.
Republicans in the past tried to cast former members like Steve King as an aberration. Remember that he’d wondered aloud about how terms like “white nationalist … become offensive?” But in today’s Republican Party, King wouldn’t even be the most far-right.
During Wednesday’s hearing, one El Paso official importantly pushed back on GOP claims. “There is no invasion of migrants in our community,” El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego said in remarks reported by The Center Square. “Nor are their hoards of undocumented immigrants committing crimes against citizens or causing havoc in our community.” Samaniego said that claims continuing this “false, racist narrative” only perpetuate devastating violence seen by U.S. communities like El Paso. His word were backed by Rep. Veronica Escobar, who testified that the region is “one of the safest communities in the United States of America on the Mexico border.”
But Republicans gave off an impression that they want chaos, because chaos serves their political goals. Reichlin-Melnick tweeted that Republican Dan Bishop, during the hearing, tried to get Samaniego “to say the cartels are going to take control of the United States.” The El Paso official responded that “cartels have been around for decades,” and that the city “is one of the safest communities.” Reichlin-Melnick wrote that Samaniego pleaded “for a real conversation.” But we know that won’t come from Republicans.
By the way, if Republicans are so serious about interdicting illegal drugs, they could add to the already historic seizures by the Biden administration and tackle the real corruption issue within border agencies. Just this month, a border agent was sentenced to ten years in prison for attempting to aid and abet cocaine smuggling through a border checkpoint. In his plea, Oberlin Cortez Pena Jr. admitted he’d used his position to tip off accomplices on how to evade detection. If Republicans are also serious about tackling the fentanyl crisis, they could, you know, not vote against funding for port of entry modernization and inspection.
Since Wednesday’s hearing, Jordan has said his committee will go to the southern border “in the next few weeks,” Jake Sherman tweeted. More border theatrics. They're still acting like they're in the minority because they have no real solutions. The House Judiciary Committee’s first hearing under the new Congress showed that.
Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, President at NextGen America, is back to talk with us about young voters. She talks about whether the rising numbers of young voters we saw during the midterms are sustainable, and what still needs to be done to achieve more young voter participation in our democracy as we progress toward a better America.
House Oversight's James Comer is pissed DHS isn't playing along with his political games. Good
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Huge amounts of drugs have been seized at the border and Republicans are very mad about it