This petty poster war says everything you need to know about the immigration debate in Congress

This petty poster war says everything you need to know about the immigration debate in Congress

Originally Published in The Washington Post.

Left: A poster hangs outside the office of Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.) that says, "Fighting for Texas Dreamers." It highlights six immigrants who came to the United States as children. Right: Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) hangs a similarly formatted poster showing eight people whose deaths involved undocumented immigrants. (Office of Congressman Mo Brooks)

By Michael Brice-Saddler

February 9, 2019

There may be no better way to understand the immigration debate on Capitol Hill than to take a walk through the second floor of the Rayburn House Office Building.

At some point, you’ll reach the offices of Reps. Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.) and Mo Brooks (R-Ala.). They’re right across the hall from each other. And, at least this weekend, that little section of hallway is the site of a passive-aggressive poster war over one of the country’s most significant policy debates.

On one side of the hall, you will see a poster next to Castro’s office — “Fighting For Texas Dreamers” across the top. The poster features six immigrants who came to the United States as children and who Castro is suggesting are now thriving, contributing members of society.

On Friday, Brooks made a show of hanging a poster outside his Washington office, across the hall from Castro, memorializing eight Americans whose deaths involved undocumented immigrants — formatted almost identically to Castro’s poster. Media outlets received a news release with a photo of Brooks hanging the poster with some gray-area statistics about immigrant crime that we’ve questioned in the past.

Brooks’s poster, entitled “These Americans, Killed by Illegal Aliens, Had Dreams Too,” features portraits of Mollie TibbettsSarah RootGrant Ronnebeck and other U.S. citizens whose deaths involved people residing illegally in the United States.

In a statement, Brooks’s office said he hung the poster to memorialize the slain Americans and “to counter the deadly and dangerous ‘open borders’ advocacy of his across-the-hall neighbor.” He went on to censure immigration policies supported by Democrats that he says cause the deaths of thousands of U.S. citizens each year at the hands of illegal immigrants, who are also responsible for trafficking deadly drugs and committing crimes such as sexual assault.

“In sum, and as part of a political power grab, Socialist Democrats elevate illegal aliens over American citizens. I don’t. I put the lives and incomes of Americans first,” Brooks wrote in the statement.

In June, The Washington Post’s Philip Bump reported that data show immigrants — including those who enter the country illegally — commit crimes at lower rates than native-born Americans.

Castro, a second-generation Mexican American, did not return an email Friday requesting comment on the posters.


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