Texas Congressman Michael McCaul, who could have had a clean path to serving as President-elect Donald J. Trump’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary, is instead facing a buzzsaw of criticism for his decision to align himself with discredited globalist and rejected House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on the issue of immigration.
In recent days, proponents of immigration controls have issued repeated warnings to Trump’s transition team: Pick Rep. McCaul, and you’ll get no wall, they say–pointing specifically to McCaul’s record of championing Cantor’s expansionist immigration agenda.
The activists explain that in 2014, McCaul was one of only 19 House GOP lawmakers willing to publicly put his name down as endorsing the House Republican Leadership’s amnesty plan, known as the “House Immigration Principles.”
The plan was supported by ex-Majority Leader Cantor, ex-Speaker John Boehner, current Speaker Paul Ryan, Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, current Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and ousted Congresswoman Renee Ellmers, among others. By contrast, 178 GOP members, according to Roll Call, kept their names off the yes or the no columns.
Cantor, Boehner, and Ryan almost succeeded in passing their amnesty agenda, PBS has reported, only to have their plan derailed suddenly by Cantor’s unprecedented primary election defeat. That’s because Cantor’s involvement in crafting the House Immigration Principles was credited with having played a significant role in dooming his Congressional career.
Cantor’s opponent, Dave Brat, declared as he launched his insurgent, and ultimately victorious, primary election campaign:
Cantor drafted the House Leadership amnesty plan, which … contains the same core elements as the Obama-Reid immigration plan. Cantor’s plan – known as the House Immigration Principles – includes amnesty for all illegals and it includes a massive boost in cheap foreign labor for corporations. His plan has won praise from President Obama, Chuck Schumer and Luis Gutierrez.
GOP aides tell Breitbart News that McCaul’s support for the 2014 Cantor-Ryan-Boehner amnesty plan is just the tip of the iceberg of McCaul’s extensive record of advancing Republican leadership’s immigration agenda. The aides say that McCaul has earned a reputation on Capitol Hill for lending his name to “toothless” leadership-backed bills that have been widely criticized by those who favor immigration controls.
“Chairman McCaul is the source of some of the worst immigration bills I’ve ever seen,” one senior House GOP aide told Breitbart:
[McCaul] often talks tough on the issue, but even a brief examination of his bill reveals that his tough talk is merely a facade. Among staff, McCaul’s immigration bills have a reputation of being toothless bills, which would actually weaken our already weak immigration laws … As a general rule, any McCaul immigration bill is almost sure to be a just a show horse bill to set the stage for amnesty.
Most recently, McCaul leant his name to Paul Ryan’s refugee bill — known as the American SAFE Act — which conservatives denounced as a “show vote.”
Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions explained last year that the McCaul bill “allows the President to continue to bring in as many refugees as he wants from anywhere in the world.”
Hot Air’s AllahPundit even observed that Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein’s bill was more substantive than the McCaul-Ryan proposal: “When you compare the House GOP’s bill to what Senate Dems are pushing, it’s the Democratic bill that’s more substantive.”
Similarly, in 2013, during the Gang of Eight amnesty push, McCaul introduced H.R. 1417, which the immigration control group NumbersUSA described as “virtually identical” to the border language of the La Raza-Obama backed Gang of Eight bill. McCaul’s border proposal, like the Gang of Eight bill, even earned the endorsement of Nancy Pelosi:
H.R. 1417 is virtually identical to the border language in the original Senate Gang of Eight bill, which was roundly criticized as being woefully inadequate on border security… Despite the fact that H.R. 1417 actually weakens current law, it is being touted as the solution to border security, and is intended to provide cover to Republicans to later vote for amnesty… It is no wonder that Sheila Jackson Lee is a cosponsor or that Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats decided to include H.R. 1417 in its entirety in their version of comprehensive amnesty (H.R. 15).
After Cantor’s immigration agenda crashed in the House, McCaul introduced a new “border security” bill in 2015 titled the “Secure Our Border First” Act, which some interpreted as a nod to ensuing amnesty.
Critics such as Conservative Review’s Daniel Horowitz slammed the bill as a “Trojan horse” for amnesty. The National Border Patrol Council spokesman issued a statement describing McCaul’s bill as “window dressing.”
“Consider the title: Secure Our Borders First. First before what?” the Center for Immigration Studies’ Jessica Vaughan told USAToday. “Before we move on to the amnesty and expansion of guest worker programs that appears to be the real priority for top Congressional Republican leaders?”
Conservatives’ fears seemed confirmed by prior reports of McCaul’s position on the issue. As the Wall Street Journal reported in late 2014, “The Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee is vowing to push border security legislation early next year, and says passage could open the door to Republican bills creating a new guest-worker programs and adding visas for high-tech workers.”
Indeed, McCaul has long supported increasing the importation of foreign workers to compete with American workers.
In 2012, McCaul called for “increasing the cap on high-skilled worker visas,” and in a 2014 radio interview with Laura Ingraham, McCaul argued in favor of expanding guest worker programs — suggesting that the reason the U.S. needs more high tech workers is because “there’s not an interest” amongst American workers to fill these good-paying, high-skilled jobs.
Yet politicians like McCaul have been empowered because the House Freedom Caucus has been so ineffective as conservative opponents in Congress and has not succeeded in shifting the House rightward — particularly on the issue of immigration.
Indeed, just as House Freedom Caucus co-founder Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) has been a vocal backer of Speaker Paul Ryan — who stands to the left of both Eric Cantor and John Boehner on the issue of immigration and has a two decade long history of pushing open borders policies — House Freedom Caucus member Jeff Duncan (R-SC) recently decided to throw his weight behind Ryan-Cantor ally Michael McCaul for DHS Secretary. In an exclusive op-ed with Breitbart News, Duncan insisted that the American people “need” someone like McCaul to keep the nation safe.
“I am glad to see President-elect Trump is considering House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul to be his Secretary of Homeland Security,” Duncan wrote. “He is the best pick.”
“We need someone like McCaul—a lifelong Texan who knows every inch of the border—to secure our territory once and for all and protect American sovereignty,” Duncan added. “Michael McCaul would be ready to go on day one… #MakeAmericaSafeAgain”
Despite McCaul’s long history demonstrating otherwise, Duncan attempted to assure conservatives that McCaul would take actions to secure the border.
Perhaps most bizarrely, Duncan told voters that the American people “can count on him [McCaul] to cut off federal funding to sanctuary cities,” even though McCaul voted for Paul Ryan’s omnibus spending bill to fully fund sanctuary cities just last year.
Duncan also insisted that McCaul will “get the wall built quickly”– even though McCaul and his staff have downplayed the value of a border wall.
For example, last year, McCaul denounced Trump’s border wall proposal as “simplistic” and “kind of knee-jerk response.” McCaul said that his own border legislation — denounced by conservatives — would be more successful than the proposal advanced by the President-elect. Similarly, in a 2015 closed-door meeting with Republican Capitol Hill staffers to push McCaul’s border bill, McCaul aide Paul Anstine reportedly defended his boss’s widely-panned bill by arguing that the country doesn’t really need a border fence.
“I’m former military. Fences don’t do anything. They get cut through. It’s difficult to construct given certain terrain conditions,” Anstine allegedly said. “Fences don’t do anything…”
As prominent blogger Mickey Kaus, who supports immigration controls, recently tweeted about the prospect of McCaul as DHS Secretary:
Choose McCaul, there'll be no Wall. #notmccaul
— Mickey Kaus (@kausmickey) December 2, 2016