Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) Named Head of House Immigration Reform Caucus » ADL Blogs
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February 13, 2013 1

Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) Named Head of House Immigration Reform Caucus

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ted Poe (R-TX) announced on Feb­ru­ary 7, 2013, that he will chair the House Immi­gra­tion Reform Cau­cus (IRC). The immi­gra­tion restric­tion­ist replaces out­go­ing chair­man Brian Bil­bray, who lost his seat in Cal­i­for­nia in Novem­ber 2012. Founded in 1999 by for­mer Col­orado Rep. Tom Tan­credo, IRC is the main block of immi­gra­tion restric­tion­ists in the House.  It is very closely aligned with the anti-immigrant movement.

Poe’s views closely align with the anti-immigrant move­ment. The Beltway-based anti-immigrant group Num­ber­sUSA give Poe an “A” grade for his vot­ing record on immi­gra­tion, which indi­cates that his record is in line with their ide­ol­ogy. In 2010, Poe signed onto an ami­cus brief in sup­port of Arizona’s SB1070 law, drafted by the Immi­gra­tion Reform Law Insti­tute (IRLI), the legal arm of the DC-based anti-immigrant group Fed­er­a­tion for Amer­i­can Immi­gra­tion Reform (FAIR).  Poe has attended FAIR’s annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio event in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. The event brings radio hosts to Wash­ing­ton to broad­cast live and inter­view anti-immigrant activists and restric­tion­ist politi­cians. On Novem­ber 19, 2009, Poe par­tic­i­pated in a forum with other mem­bers of the House Judi­ciary Com­mit­tee enti­tled “Amer­i­can Jobs in Peril: The Impact of Uncon­trolled Immi­gra­tion.” Speak­ers included Roy Beck, pres­i­dent of Num­ber­sUSA, and Jerry Kam­mer and Steven Camarota of the anti-immigrant think-tank Cen­ter for Immi­gra­tion Stud­ies (CIS).

The Feb­ru­ary 7, 2013 press release also announced the mem­bers of the IRC Exec­u­tive Com­mit­tee: Diane Black (R-TN), Bill Flo­res (R-TX), Phil Gin­grey (R-GA) and Lamar Smith (R-TX). All four Exec­u­tive Com­mit­tee mem­bers have “A” grades from Num­ber­sUSA.  Lamar Smith and Phil Gin­grey have close ties to the anti-immigrant move­ment. Dur­ing his tenure as chair of the House Judi­ciary Com­mit­tee, Smith invited many promi­nent mem­bers of the anti-immigrant move­ment to tes­tify on immi­gra­tion issues. Gin­grey and Smith are also reg­u­lars at FAIR’s “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” event. Both men received dona­tions from the U.S. Immi­gra­tion Reform PAC in the past. Mary Lou Tan­ton, the wife of racist John Tan­ton, the founder of the modern-day anti-immigrant move­ment, runs the PAC.

The Poe press release stated that IRC cur­rently has 58 mem­bers, although 77 peo­ple who were pre­vi­ously IRC mem­bers won re-election in 2012. It is unclear why so many IRC mem­bers decided to leave the Cau­cus, but some may want to dis­tance them­selves from the anti-immigrant move­ment now that immi­gra­tion reform has become more accept­able to both polit­i­cal par­ties. IRC’s pre­vi­ous two chairs, Bil­bray and Tom Tan­credo, a for­mer rep­re­sen­ta­tive from Col­orado, both lost elec­tions, per­haps in part due to their restric­tion­ist views on immi­gra­tion. It remains to be seen how Poe’s new posi­tion will impact vot­ers in his district.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rich.redbeard.leamon Rich Red­Beard Leamon

    This gen­tle­man and the rest of the IRC are being belit­tled for being Amer­i­cans and par­tic­i­pat­ing in our form of Gov­ern­ment. I do not believe that they are against LEGAL IMMIGRATION ‚but surely are against the tide of Ille­gal Immi­gra­tion that our coun­try has been sub­jected to.