Immigration Spotlight on Congress: Assessing Republican Representatives

Dujie Tahat Uncategorized

Immigration policy has been at the forefront of the national policy debate in Congress, and Washington’s Members of Congress have played important roles.  This article summarizes positions taken by our Republican Members of Congress facing re-election this year. 

Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler (Third Congressional District)

Rep. Herrera Beutler states on her official website that, “my first and most important job when it comes to fixing our broken immigration system is to curb the influx of people unlawfully entering and staying in the United States. … I will do everything in my power to strengthen our existing border control operations in order to get our borders under control. I do not support amnesty for illegal immigrants, and I do not believe we can seriously discuss what to do with the people already here illegally until we’ve stemmed the flow of people crossing into our country illegally every day.”

She supports implementing an electronic verification system to ensure that those applying for jobs are legally able to work, enhancing border security walls through a wall, fence, or new technologies, and protecting border agents from prosecution. She voted in favor of H.R. 5759 Preventing Executive Overreach on Immigration Act of 2014, a bill that would have undone President Obama’s DACA policy.

During the Trump administration, Rep. Herrera Beutler has continued to show support for legislation opposed by OneAmerica Votes that would restrict immigration to the United States, including H.R. 2213 Anti-Border Corruption Reauthorization Act of 2017, H.R. 3004 Kate’s Law, H.R. 3003 No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, H.R. 3697 Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act, H.R. 4760 Securing America’s Future Act of 2018, and H.R. 6136 Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018.

Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Fifth Congressional District)

Rep. McMorris Rodgers is a member of the Republican leadership in Congress.  Despite past statements expressing support for comprehensive immigration reform, she has failed to bring any such legislation up for a vote in the House of Representatives.  She has consistently voted for bills that would increase border militarization.

Rep. McMorris Rodgers helped negotiate the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act, which would have expanded funding for the southern border wall and the number of officers on the border, undermined America’s existing family immigration system, slashed diversity lottery visas and allowed the government to detain families together indefinitely in exchange for preventing the deportation of individuals with DACA, a position opposed by organizations representing and led by Dreamers. Rep. McMorris Rodgers said that the bill, “will fully secure the border, stop illegal immigration, close enforcement loopholes, end the threat of amnesty, and provide long-term certainty for DACA recipients.” Rep.  McMorris Rodgers voted in favor of key bills with an anti-immigrant stance since President Trump’s inauguration.

During the Trump administration, Rep. McMorris Rodgers has continued to show support for bills opposed by OneAmerica Votes, including H.R. 2213 Anti-Border Corruption Reauthorization Act of 2017, H.R. 3004 Kate’s Law, H.R. 3003 No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, H.R. 3697 Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act, and H.R. 6136 Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018.

Representative Dan Newhouse (Fourth Congressional District)

Rep. Dan Newhouse writes on his website that the immigration system is broken and there need to be pathways to ensure that those who contribute to our economy and do not have a criminal record can attain citizenship while protecting our national security at the border. Rep. Newhouse is particularly vocal on streamlining guest-worker programs, especially in the agricultural sector, raising concerns among farm workers and advocates about working conditions and labor protections.

Following the end of the DACA program announced by the President last fall, Newhouse was one of a small group of Republican immigration moderates in the House who called on the Republican leadership to find a reasonable compromise to enact legislation similar to the DREAM Act to protect participants in the DACA program.  However, when some of his moderate colleagues pushed for a discharge petition to force a vote on four potential immigration bills, including the DREAM Act, Newhouse refused to sign.  Instead he received a commitment from the Speaker of the House to hold a vote on an agricultural visa bill, and negotiated a separate bill that was a compromise among Republicans in the House of Representatives.

As for his voting record, Rep. Newhouse has consistently voted in favor of bills that would hurt immigrant communities under the justification of national security and increased border enforcement. On June 27, a bill that Rep. Newhouse cosponsored, the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act which, in exchange for protecting DACA holders from deportation, provided $25 billion for border security funding and would allow the government to detain families indefinitely to solve family separation failed. In response, Rep. Newhouse wrote that he was “bitterly disappointed” in his fellow Members of Congress for voting against the bill which covered President Trump’s four pillars: building a wall, undercutting the visa system, and increasing the government’s capacity to detain immigrants.

During the Trump administration, Rep. Newhouse has continued to support immigration bills opposed by OneAmerica Votes, including H.R. 2213 Anti-Border Corruption Reauthorization Act of 2017, H.R. 3004 Kate’s Law, H.R. 3003 No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, H.R. 3697 Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act, and H.R. 6136 Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018.