“I think these kids are the American Dream, and they are conservatives,” said Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS) of illegal aliens registered with the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Marshall’s comments came during a Monday interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight, hosted by Breitbart Senior Editors-at-Large Rebecca Mansour and Joel Pollak.
Pollak asked Marshall why conservatives or Republicans should accept, via a DACA amnesty deal, an influx of “nearly a million voters” aligned with the Democratic Party.
Although “we talk about them as ‘kids,’ the average age [of a DACA recipient] is somewhere in the mid-30s,” said Pollak.
“We are told that people who are beneficiaries of DACA are American in everything except the accident of their birth,” said Pollak. “When you look at how the DACA activists demonstrate, the things they say … I just wonder, can they not find in 700,000 or 800,000, can they not find one DACA beneficiary who’s a conservative, who would come out and say, ‘We’re American like the rest of you, but I share conservative values. I want to vote Republican. I just need to catch a break on this’? I mean, can they not find one person?”
Noting that the DACA issue “seems so partisan,” Pollak stated, “The Democrats want this clearly for the votes, and you’ve got Republicans like Lindsey Graham saying we need to do it now. In fact, I think he’s been saying for years that unless we do something about it, we’re not going to win another presidential election; that turned out to be false. I just don’t understand why there’s not a bipartisan image to this, aside from the obviously partisan nature of some of the activists themselves. If they were smart, couldn’t they come up with somebody to reach out to the other half of America and say, ‘Hey, I share your values.’? Because otherwise we’re being basically asked to add nearly a million voters, eventually, to the Democratic column, and just on a purely partisan basis, isn’t that a non-starter or shouldn’t that be a non-starter for Republicans?”
Marshall replied that the “DACA kids” he’s met hold “conservative values” and would eventually vote Republican if amnestied and afforded citizenship.
“That’s not been my experience,” replied Marshall. “We probably have 3,000 DACA kids in my state. I’m a practicing obstetrician. I’ve been delivering babies for the last 25 years, and I’ve met quite a few of these DACA kids, the brothers and sisters of the kids I’ve delivered. I’ve had, gosh, 70 town halls and I’ve met quite a few of them. I will tell you the kids that I’ve met, many are between 17 and 19 years of age, these kids have conservative values, they think family’s important, they’re people of faith. They want to live the American Dream. So I think that those people are out there and they’re going to become strong Republican voters. I think we’ll be surprised, just as we’ve seen other different groups of people as they mature. As soon as they start paying taxes, it’s amazing that they become more conservative. So I feel very hopeful that these kids, many of them will become, if they’re not already Republicans, will become conservatives.”
Pollak questioned Marshall’s prediction of future voting trends among Hispanics. Americans originally from Mexico and Central America do not typically transition toward support for conservatism or the Republican Party, he said.
“Let me ask you this, many of the DACA beneficiaries are originally from Mexico or Central America, and the social indicators of that population of immigrants don’t really tend in that Republican direction, in general,” said Pollak. “You have many of the same problems that you have in their countries of origin. I’m not just talking about DACA beneficiaries. I’m talking about groups of immigrants, in general. I don’t know that this transition to conservatism necessarily happens. It seems almost that Republicans are locked in at just under 30% of the vote when it comes to Latino voting, in general. Ronald Reagan did better in 1984 and George W. Bush did better in 2004, I get that, but it seems basically like the baseline is around 27%, maybe up to 30%. I don’t know that there are these exponents of conservative values among the illegal alien population or even among the DACA population.”
Pollak challenged narratives framing DACA recipients as wholly Americanized, noting DACA-amnesty movement’s expression of hostility toward America and alignment with Mexican nationalism.
“I’m again asking, for people who want to do something for DACA beneficiaries, for people who say that they’re Americans, why can’t they find a public face to this movement who at least appeals to Republicans or conservatives?” asked Pollak. “I’ve got to tell you, I was open to the idea of this DACA thing until I started covering some of these demonstrations, and you see the Mexican flag, and you see the hostility toward Republicans, the hostility toward America; and you ask yourself, ‘We’re being told these are just like other Americans, but they’re so radical, or at least they’re being led by radicals, why would we want them as fellow citizens?’ They don’t seem to be want to be part of a broader American community. They want to change that community. I mean, I think it’s a serious problem for anybody who wants to legalize 700,000 or 800,000 DACA recipients.”
DACA recipients “want to work and make a living,” said Marshall, describing the pursuit as “what conservatism is about.” He framed DACA-themes amnesty proposals as broadly serving Kansas’s economic interest.
“Again, that’s just not been my experience, at all,” said Marshall. “I’ve met certainly hundreds of DACA recipients. They’ve all been great people. They want to live this American Dream. They’re hard-working, their families are hard-working. The communities in southwest Kansas that are growing economically have embraced this immigration issue, and they’re surviving. These are people that want to work and want to make a living, and I think that’s what conservatism is about. Conservatism is about giving everybody the opportunity, the great privilege of having a job, a job that brings value to yourself and to your community. In Kansas, we have 50,000 open jobs. They can’t find people to work, anymore. So I think these kids are the American Dream, and they are conservatives. Conservatism to me starts with faith and family. You show me that think that family and faith are important, and we’re making a couple steps in the right direction. I invite you to come to Kansas and I’ll introduce you to lots of DACA kids with conservative values.”
Asked to address the concerns of parents whose children has been killed or murdered by illegal aliens, Marshall broadly called for more effective deportation measures to remove illegal aliens who “commit crimes.”
“There’s a diversity of opinion among the Angel Moms and Dads,” said Pollak. “Some want all the DACA people deported, other say they that they’re okay with DACA but they don’t want anything beyond that. They want to make sure this is the last amnesty. They don’t want chain migration. They don’t want the parents who brought the kids in illegally to come in, and so forth. What do you say to the the parent; someone who has lost a child to a crime – whether it was a DUI or a gangland murder – how do you guarantee them that no other parent would have to feel that grief, again?”
“Well, you’re talking to a physician,” responded Marshall. “You can’t give people those types of guarantees. There’s no guarantees in life like that. Certainly there are some things we can try to move in the right direction. This concept of one-and-done, I think that we’re going to hold these folks to a higher standard, and if they’ve done a crime they’re gone. More than just fixing the border, though, we need a legal process that deports these people when they do commit crimes and we don’t let them come back across the border. I think that’s it’s more than just preventing people from coming in the first time. When we kick them out, they need to stay out. When they break a law, we need to throw them in jail. I think there’s a whole lot more we can do to become more efficient in that direction. Of course my heart pours out to anyone who’s lost a child or a loved one to a DUI, to me whoever is driving, it’s a horrible situation. So, we’re going to keep moving in the right direction, but I don’t think that you can just lump all 800,000 kids together because that’s happened at certain times. Certainly feel their pain, but we’ve got to work through that issue, as well.”
Marshall highlighted “agricultural worker visa issues” as the primary reason for his opposition to a proposed bill – named the “Securing America’s Future Act of 2018” (SAF) – co-sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). He expressed opposition to national implementation of an E-Verify mandate for employers in the absence of a new “agricultural visa program.”
“Do you support the Goodlatte bill that is going to be introduced to Congress?” asked Mansour.
“Not completely where it is right now,” replied Marshall. “I think it’s a great marker. I think it’s a good start. We have some [agricultural] worker visa issues, as well, back in the state. We need to work on the E-Verify part of it, but I think it’s a great start and I appreciate his work and Colonel McSally’s work on it.”
Asked by Mansour what elements of SAF’s E-Verify provisions he opposed, Marshall reiterated his focus on agricultural work visas: “Well, I think we need to figure out a good work visa solution for [agricultural] workers before we implement the E-Verify portion of it.”
“That’s interesting you should mention the agricultural worker part of it, because the Goodlatte bill actually creates a whole new visa program specifically for agricultural workers in exchange for E-Verify, because they recognize that’s a crucial issue for agricultural businesses,” said Mansour. “So I’m surprised you wouldn’t accept it for that. They actually create a whole new category specifically just for that industry.”
“It’s a step in the right direction,” said Marshall of SAF’s proposed creation of a new agricultural work visa program. “I think it’s just a matter of semantics. We don’t want to implement the E-Verify before we have the [agricultural] visa program up and running, and I think it’ll take six months to a year for that [agricultural] visa program to come online. So I just don’t want to get the cart before the horse if we can’t avoid that.”
Marshall unseated “Tea Party-backed” incumbent Tim Huelskamp in 2016’s Republican primary in Kansas’s 1st Congressional District. The Associated Press described Marshall as “backed by agriculture and business groups.”
Open Secrets lists Marshall’s political fundraising from agricultural interests, identifying agribusiness as the largest industrial benefactor of his campaign and satellite political action committees (PACs).
Breitbart News Tonight airs Monday through Friday on SiriusXM’s Patriot channel 125 from 9:00 p.m. to midnight Eastern (6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Pacific).
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.