Republicans deal with intra-party immigration battles.
Republicans deal with intra-party immigration battles. Photos: Getty Images.

Republicans’ immigration proposal is denounced by Latino GOP colleagues

Representatives Maria Elvira Salazar and Tony Gonzales have publicly come out against the bill proposed by Rep. Chip Roy.


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House Republicans’ immigration and border plan was recently dealt a blow by internal forces — Latino GOP Congressmembers. 

Florida Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar and Texas Rep. Tony Gonzales have openly criticized and pushed against a recent immigration bill proposed by fellow Texas Rep. Chip Roy that requires U.S. officials to ban or detain migrants seeking asylum while their claims are being considered. 

“We understand that immigrants want to come and live in the promised land,” Salazar recently commented in an interview. “Orderly legal immigration is good for the country and good for District 27.”

For Gonzales, a Mexican American — whose district is a large portion of the U.S.-Mexico border from El Paso to San Antonio — his criticism was more straightforward, calling it “anti-immigrant.”

Gonzales also tweeted indirectly at Roy’s legislation, initiating a standoff between the two Texas GOP reps. 

“Anyone who thinks a three-page anti-immigration bill with 0% chance of getting signed into law is going to solve the border crisis should be buying beach front property in AZ,” Gonzales tweeted Thursday night. 

As of now, all asylum seekers are allowed to be let go with notices to appear in court and fight for asylum. Roy’s bill would also give immigration officials the authority to ban all migrants from entering if there is no “operational control” at the U.S. and Mexico border.

Republicans’ have historically had support from about a third of Latino voters, who share the party’s views. 

In November’s elections, 39% of Latinos voted for Republicans, according to AP VoteCast, an increase from 32% supporting Republicans in the 2018 midterm elections. 

Republicans are not the only ones pushing back on their colleagues’ immigration proposals as Democrats have recently criticized the Biden administration’s newly proposed policy that would deny asylum to migrants without first seeking protection in a country they passed through. 

This requires people to apply for an asylum appointment through an obsolete app or country-specific humanitarian parole program — to get to the U.S. The administration has argued that the high influx of migrants forced their hand. 

For Roy’s bill, the Texas representative is eager to make it work, as he sent a letter last week to several of his House colleagues, asking for support on the legislation. 

He also let his frustrations spill out in public as he said in a recent interview that it was “absurd” for the two Latino GOP newcomers to push back against his proposal. 

“A few of my Republican colleagues prefer to be fiddling while America burns,” Roy said. “Republicans are going to have to put their money where their mouth is.”

Salazar’s consistent take has always been the need to secure the border and the push for an immigration reform that would give citizenship to those already in the country illegally. 

It’s a take she has long held and one that means a lot to her 27th district, where historically and more than ever in the last two years, there’s been a huge increase of Cubans fleeing the island to seek asylum in South Beach. 

“I do know that my district appreciates what I am saying,” she added.

It is located entirely within Miami-Dade County and includes Downtown and Little Havana. 

Salazar, unlike her fellow Republican colleagues, is not looking to block migrants from entering the country. 

“The formula hasn’t changed,” Salazar said. “We want the Albert Einsteins of the world to come and work for us and continue to make this economy strong.”

After it was clear that the bill would not get enough votes to pass the House, the bill was recently sent to the House Homeland Security Committee where Gonzales sits. 

Gonzales also came out against Roy in a Feb. 16 interview with the Washington Examiner, where the Latino official accused his fellow GOP colleagues of politicizing the issue of border security and immigration to their benefit. 

“There’s a reason why we haven’t gotten significant border security done and why we haven’t seen significant immigration reform done,” Gonzales said about both parties. “It is in the interest of many politicians to have this crisis continue to flare up.”

“Others can posture, and others can drop bills that are messaging and blame the other side,” he added. “I don’t have that luxury.”

Roy defended the bill and himself in an interview with PBS NewsHour earlier this month. 

“Tony ought to read the bill and read current law,” Roy said. 


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