According to The Hill, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, will not continue to serve as the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee's Immigration panel, as was widely anticipated. Instead, Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, announced that California Rep. Elton Gallegly (R) would head the Immigration and Enforcement panel.
Gallegly is a hard-liner just like King, but without the outlandish rhetoric that has made the latter one of the House's premier wingnuts, vying with the likes of Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, and Louie Gohmert, R-Texas.
The move to replace King as subcommittee chair came as a surprise. It's indicative of the tough corner into which the GOP has painted itself with its rank demagoguery of immigrants. The tea-bagger caucus has to juggle the desires of its activist base -- which takes a much harder line than Republican voters as a whole, never mind the broader electorate -- against the reality that Latinos and Asian-Americans are the fastest growing voting blocks in the United States, and will be for the foreseeable future.
But Frank Sharry, director of America's Voice, an immigration reform group, said in a statement that despite the optics, "the choice actually reveals that the new Republican majority in the House is still bent on pursuing a costly and ineffective mass-deportation approach to immigration policy."
Cross-posted from the day-job.
Steve King was dethroned because even the House Republican leadership must realize that comparing immigrants to livestock and suggesting we keep them out with an electric fence is offensive to Latino voters. But, he's simply been demoted from king to prince, and together, with Lamar Smith and Elton Gallegly, will lead the deportation caucus in the House. Until the Republican Party actually changes position on immigration, their ugly faces will still define them.