Email #207: “Integrity Restoration”?

You say your so-called Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act “empowers state and local communities.” According to your House Judiciary Committee press release:

“Currently, states or localities that do not want refugees resettled within their communities have no recourse. The bill remedies this issue and prevents the resettlement of refugees in any state or locality that takes legislative or executive action disapproving resettlement within their jurisdiction.”

And yet your anti-sanctuary bill removes power from local communities. Under the so-called No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, localities that do not want their police using local tax-funded resources enforcing federal immigration laws within their jurisdictions will have no recourse.

The anti-sanctuary passed the House on Thursday. Your House Judiciary Committee approved the refugee bill on Friday. So within 24 hours you argued that local communities should choose for themselves how to handle immigration issues and also that local communities should be stripped of that power.

Since all of the Judiciary Committee’s Republican members also voted for both bills, it seems the Republican party does not care about the contradiction. You are treating a core conservative principle like a prop, holding it up when it makes for good advertising, and ignoring it when it contradicts your legislation-of-the-moment.

While your casual hypocrisy is startling, it seems you do have one principle when it comes to immigration: always take the position most inhumane to the immigrant. You could pose that in positive terms and argue that you are enacting an “America First” policy and so always favoring citizens against non-citizens. But when citizens take pro-immigrant stances you vote to take that power away from them, and when citizens take anti-immigrant stances you vote to further empower them. So your actions aren’t motivated by citizens.

You are “Anti-immigrant First,” a policy that seems both inhumane and un-American.


Author: Chris Gavaler

Chris Gavaler is an associate professor at W&L University, comics editor of Shenandoah, and series editor of Bloomsbury Critical Guides in Comics Studies. He has published two novels: School for Tricksters (SMU 2011) and Pretend I’m Not Here (HarperCollins 2002); and six books of scholarship: On the Origin of Superheroes (Iowa 2015), Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury 2017), Superhero Thought Experiments (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Iowa 2019), Revising Fiction, Fact, and Faith (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Routledge 2020), Creating Comics (with Leigh Ann Beavers, Bloomsbury 2021), and The Comics Form (Bloomsbury forthcoming). His visual work appears in Ilanot Review, North American Review, Aquifer, and other journals.

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