Frelinghuysen on Immigration

Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen & Immigration

Congressman Frelinghuysen enthusiastically echoes Donald Trump’s talking point about immigration coming from and through Mexico as being “out of control”. This is clearly articulated in his political communiqués, where he has made declarations such as:  “The crisis on our Southern border underscores the inadequacy of our Federal Government’s efforts to secure that border…” The reality is that these are notions that all experts and serious sources have proven false. [1]

At the same time, Frelinghuysen likes to play the moderate card, tempering his assertions with comments like “We are blessed to be a nation of immigrants, but we are also a nation of laws.” The fact is that Frelinghuysen has a long record of voting in sync with the most extreme factions of the Republican Party [2], while portraying himself as a centrist.


Frelinghuysen and the Muslim Ban

3 days after Donald Trump issued an Executive Order prohibiting entry to the US by citizens of seven countries where a majority of the population practices Islam as their religion, Frelinghuysen declared: “As part of his strategy to make the safety and security of the American people his top priority, President Trump believes that a pause in immigration from unstable regions is warranted.” Frelinghuysen’s words conveyed the notion that the order was generic and driven to protect the Nation from dangerous actors. Unfortunately, Trump himself deprived the Congressman from this thinly veiled deception, by making clear that the intention was to prohibit entry of practitioners of the Muslim faith, even if they were legal residents in the US. The Courts addressed the unconstitutionality of the EO but Frelinghuysen never disavowed his agreement with Trump’s purpose.



Frelinghuysen and Border Security 

Representative Frelinghuysen happily endorses another talking point of the hard-line right in his party: that the attacks of 9/11 were all a result of bad immigration policies and the influx of “illegals”. Here are his words on the topic: “Regrettably, it took the horrific events of September 11, 2001 to draw the nation’s attention to the glaring shortcomings in our immigration enforcement system.” The fact remains that none of the attackers of the Twin Towers was an immigrant. They were not nationals of any of the countries that Trump targeted in his EO, either. Moreover, they had all entered the US with legal visas [3]. The claim that immigration policy had to do with the horrific attack on the US is another attempt to provide cover for Frelinghuysen’s discriminatory stance on the subject. The truth is that Rodney Frelinghuysen positions on immigration have nothing to do with real border security or enforcement. His votes speak of a long history of radical and discriminatory votes on the subject of immigration, culminating with his warm embrace of Donald Trump’s xenophobic and unconstitutional actions.


Frelinghuysen’s Record on Immigration 

Rep. Frelinghuysen has a long public record of opposing progress on immigration; a record that goes back to the administration of George W. Bush. He has repeatedly voted to make more difficult to sponsor family members to come to the US legally. He has voted to spend money on building fences across the Mexican border on many occasions. Fences that are known to have no efficacy as means to control migratory flows [4]. He contributed to derail President Bush’s attempt to enact comprehensive change to immigration policies. (Yes, you read correctly! He was to the right of Bush!)

More recently, the Congressman has opposed the enactment of President Obama’s Executive Order allowing the undocumented parents of US-born children to remain with their kids in American soil, following some strict conditions. (This is what is popularly called DAPA.)

He also opposed President Obama’s EO allowing youth who have been raised in America but not born in the US, to remain in American soil, provided they comply with some strict conditions. (This is what is popularly known as DACA.) How can anyone bent on separating families and punishing children for their parent’s actions claim to be a “moderate” politician? But these recent actions should not be a surprise. They are aligned with Frelinghuysen’s votes in the Bush days, where he took repeated votes to impede the reunification of families.

The bottom-line is that Representative Frelinghuysen’s record on immigration fulfills all the wishes and demands of the Trump administration. So much for his moderation!

[1] 5 facts about Mexico and immigration to the U.S.  Pew Research Center. February 11, 2016.

[2] Rodney Frelinghuysen on Immigration. OnTheIssues.

[3] September 11th Hijackers Fast Facts. CNN Library.

[4] Borders and Walls: Do Barriers Deter Unauthorized Migration? Migration Policy Institute.


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