LL Cool J told us not to “call it a comeback,” and it seems like Republicans shouldn’t call it one either. And no, I’m not talking about anyone’s illustrious music career, but instead the concept of “self-deportation” as an actual immigration policy platform.
Through a slew of anti-immigrant extremist “expert” witnesses testifying in hearings in the House of Representatives over the last few weeks, we’ve learned that the concept of “attrition through enforcement” (aka self-deportation) is alive and well. Most glaringly, the House Judiciary committee hosted a hearing earlier this week on the SAFE Act, a piece of legislation which has as its express goal to make life so difficult for immigrants in this country that they leave voluntarily. They even asked FAIR and CIS to come testify at the hearing. Sound familiar?
“Self-deportation” as a concept in of in itself is a product of the Tanton network and has been pushed through the major anti-immigrant organizations inlcuding the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), FAIR’s legal arm Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) and Mark Krikorian’s Center for Immigration Studies (CIS)—for years.
The fruits of the anti-immigrant extremists’ investment in self-deportation were seen most famously in Arizona’s ‘show me your papers’ bill (SB 1070)—a bill mostly written by Kansas Secretary of State and IRLI lawyer Kris Kobach. When the Supreme Court struck down much of that bill as unconstitutional, many believed that the concept had been knocked out, but the extremists managed to find a new standard bearer in Mitt Romney, who made that the central tenet of his 2012 campaign. When Mitt Romney lost more than 70% of the Latino vote to President Obama, many, again, believed that it had been knocked out, but it seems the anti-immigrant organization have found a new standard bearer: the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives.
Like LL said, don’t call it a comeback, it’s been here for years.