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Jim Jordan previews the GOP's next anti-immigrant scare tactic

Jordan's latest subpoena to the Biden administration shows he's following Trump's lead by attempting to frame migrant children as "heinous" criminals.


Ahead of this fall’s elections, Republicans are doing everything in their power to demonize migrants and capitalize on any anti-immigrant fervor they can generate.

They’ve used a variety of tactics, like shuttling migrants from the border to cities run by Democrats, thwarting a bill that could have curbed border crossings, and even staging a baseless impeachment of Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas for purportedly aiding a migrant “invasion.” 

The purpose of these stunts seems clear: to make Americans feel so freaked out by the presence of migrants — and so frustrated with democratic fixes to immigration issues, like bills — that they elect a dictatorial leader like Donald Trump to make their problems go away in the most draconian ways possible. Trump’s recent declaration that “migrant crime” constitutes a “new category of crime” is a clear signal for Republicans to lean even further into the anti-immigrant hysteria. And so they are. 

NBC News reported Tuesday that House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, the Ohio Republican, has issued a subpoena to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra for documents related to alleged crimes committed by migrant children. 

From NBC News: 

In the letter informing Becerra of the subpoena, Jordan details previous requests his committee has issued for case files, arguing that the administration’s response has been “woefully inadequate.” The committee asked for the files as part of oversight into “mismanagement of the placement of unaccompanied alien children,” which Jordan says resulted in some children “committing heinous criminal acts against Americans.”

In other words, Jordan is fishing for reports of migrant children committing crimes, presumably so such stories can be used to malign immigrants more generally. Jordan is like a casting director looking for actors menacing enough to play a role in his horror flick. 

An HHS spokesperson rebutted Jordan's claim that the agency hasn't complied with his previous requests, telling NBC News:

“As much as we realize that House Judiciary Republicans would like to build a narrative of stonewalling, the facts remain clear: HHS already voluntarily shared the documents in question to the Committee weeks ago,” the spokesperson said. “The sole information sought by the Committee is the personally identifiable information, medical records, and protected health information of children.”

Nonetheless, Jordan seems set on continuing the anti-immigrant theater, despite ample evidence that migrants are no more likely — or, according to some studies, much less likely — to commit crime as people born in the U.S. In the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen right-wingers like Fox News host Sean Hannity and Tennessee GOP Rep. Tim Burchett spread allegations that migrants have committed crimes, only to be forced to walk back their claims when they're proven false.

Earlier this month, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released a 10-year budget forecast that determined immigration will help add $7 trillion to the United States' GDP over that span. It can sometimes sound dehumanizing to frame immigration in economic terms, but that statistic is clear evidence of immigration's material benefit to the country — something Republicans largely don’t want to admit. 

Immigration is our strength in the U.S. (contrary to the white nationalist talking point). At Trump's instigation, Republicans like Jordan want to scare Americans into thinking otherwise.