Rep. Cleaver: GOP Manufactures Black-Brown Tensions

by Julianne Hing

On Tuesday members of the Congressional Black Caucus led by Missouri Rep. Emanuel Cleaver lambasted Republicans during a House Immigration Subcommittee hearing for trying to generate tension between black and immigrant communities in an effort to pass anti-immigrant bills that would serve neither community.

The committee’s newly appointed leaders—Reps. Elton Gallegly, Steve King and Lamar Smith, are longtime anti-immigration hardliners who gathered folks for a panel called “Making Immigration Work for American Minorities,” in which House members debated the impact that immigrants had on high unemployment and depressed wages in communities of color. Gallegly, King and Smith argued that immigrants drove down wages and were primarily responsible for the unemployment crisis in black communities.

“I am concerned by the majority’s attempt to manufacture tension between African-Americans and immigrant communities. It seems as though they would like for our communities to think about immigration in terms of ‘us versus them,’ and I reject that notion,” Cleaver said in his statement, the AP reported.

Latino Republicans Warn House GOP That Anti-Immigrant Members As Committee Chairs Will Hurt GOP

Today, Congress welcomes for orientation a new class of fresh-faced Republicans to Washington, DC. These newcomers also usher in a whole new brand of congressional leadership because, with the new House majority, the GOP’s veteran extremists are set to become Committee chairmen.

But not all Republicans are thrilled by this right-wing swing. Last week, a GOP Latino group —Somos Republicans — wrote an open letter to presumptive House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and current House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) requesting that they reconsider entrusting Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) with House subcommittee on immigration and the House judiciary Committee chairmanships, respectively. Due to both King and Smith’s “defamatory” anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies, the group warned that their leadership would insult Latinos and wreck the GOP’s chances in 2012:

Rep. Steve King: the next Chair of subcommittee on immigration

By Suzy Khimm

Rep. Steve King has compared border-crossers to livestock [1], asserted that President Obama “favors the black person,” and described illegal immigration as a “slow-motion terrorist attack.” Last summer, the Iowa Republican proclaimed [2] that he would support amnesty for illegal immigrants under just one condition—that “every time we give amnesty for an illegal alien, we deport a liberal.” Since Tom Tancredo left office in 2008, King has risen to take his place as the right’s biggest anti-immigration flamethrower. Now he’s preparing to wage an even bigger assault under Republican-controlled House. King is very likely to become the next chair of the House Judiciary’s subcommittee on immigration, working together with Judiciary’s incoming chairman, Lamar Smith—another immigration hawk who’s vowed to put a crackdown at the top of his agenda.