Earlier today, House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) announced his nomination for the chairmanship of an immigration panel on the Judiciary Committee. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) was everybody’s favorite for the position but he was surprisingly overlooked, with Lamar Smith instead choosing Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA).
The news will come as a huge blow to King who is regarded as the most virulently anti-immigrant member of Congress. His racist statements about immigrants, as well as his anti-IRS campaign, have apparently ended his chances of playing a major role in the next Congress.
Even though King did not win the chairmanship, he is still a very active member of the main anti-immigrant caucus within the House, the Immigration Reform Caucus (IRC). Both Lamar Smith and Elton Gallegly are also members of the Caucus.
Founded in May 1999 by former Rep. Tom Tancredo(R-CO), IRC members have introduced punitive anti-immigration legislation and played a key role in scuttling recent immigration reforms by dragging worthy proposals through a cesspool of nativism and xenophobia. Integral to the John Tanton Network, IRC is but one piece of today’s anti-immigrant movement – serving primarily as the Tanton Network’s legislative arm at the federal level.
The Network is a web of controversial anti-immigrant organizations orchestrated by John Tanton, founder of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
IRC associates with far-right extremist groups and leaders with virulent anti-immigration agendas promoted by white nationalists. The relationship between the Immigration Reform Caucus and FAIR is clear and irrefutable.
IRC Chair Tancredo was supported throughout his congressional tenure by FAIR and the John Tanton Network. After Tancredo launched his ill-fated presidential campaign in 2007, a former FAIR lobbyist, Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA), took over as IRC’s chairman. Bilbray is a former FAIR lobbyist.
King’s failed bid for the immigration panel on the Judiciary Committee is a step backwards for King and the Tanton Network because of their close ties, but both will continue to make life as difficult as possible for all immigrants in the United States.