The editorial board of the New York Times, under the headline, "The Anti-Immigrant Binge in Congress" accurately identifies a huge problem in this country:
Congress is in danger of taking that most cursed of American political disagreements, the debate over illegal immigration, and dragging it farther toward insanity.
Bills are being rushed to the floor in the House and Senate in response to a woman’s senseless killing in San Francisco by an unauthorized immigrant with a long criminal record. That single crime has energized hard-line Republican lawmakers who have long peddled the false argument that all illegal immigrants are a criminal menace, and that the best way to erase their threat is by new layers of inflexible policing.
On Thursday afternoon the House passed the first of these bills, to punish state and local governments that limit cooperation with immigration enforcement and that forbid their officers to question the people they encounter about their immigration status. It would deny places with such “sanctuary” policies funding from the Homeland Security and Justice Departments for public-safety programs, essentially bleeding them of money to fight crime — in the name of fighting crime. Another measure pending in the House, “Kate’s Law,” named for the San Francisco victim, Kathryn Steinle, would impose mandatory five-year minimum prison sentences for deportees caught re-entering the country.
In the Senate, Charles Grassley of Iowa has offered a bill that combines the sanctuary-city and “Kate’s Law” provisions. Rand Paul of Kentucky and David Vitter of Louisiana have their own sanctuary-city bills, and Ted Cruz of Texas has jumped on the “Kate’s Law” bandwagon.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, is also said to be working on a bill that would require local authorities to work more closely with the federal government on immigration enforcement. She is treading on dangerous ground: However reasonably her bill might be drawn, it will be debated and amended in a body dominated by Republicans who are bent on using the Steinle tragedy to fraudulently amplify the immigrant threat.
This week, in hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee and House immigration subcommittee, the hard-liners made that very clear.
Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina mused about the need to find and swiftly rid the country of criminal “aliens”: “How are we going to identify that universe, however small it may be?” he said, adding, “What is our plan to identify that universe before they reoffend?”
Representative Steve King of Iowa likened crimes by unauthorized immigrants to the 9/11 attacks, “a tragedy that causes my hard heart to cry.”
Representative Lamar Smith of Texas said “someone in this administration probably should be arrested for negligent homicide.”
Language like that is hard to distinguish from the rantings of Donald Trump, who brought his racist road show to Laredo, Tex.
Where is it possible for us to go from here? Putting our own words into the mouth of the Pope, "God help us now!"