Republicans have long sought to disingenuously link undocumented immigrants with crime and violence, particularly since Donald Trump took office last year and launched an anti–immigrant crackdown nationwide, which continues to rip families apart.
But the real fear of members of the extreme right isn’t crime—it’s about losing political power. Talk radio host Rush Limbaugh admitted as much in an interview with Fox News Sunday.
“I would be willing, right here, to support an effort to grant permanent citizenship to whatever number of illegal immigrants there are in the country, tomorrow, if you will make as part of the deal they can’t vote for 15-25 years,” Limbaugh said. “And if they will agree to that, then I’ll grant them amnesty.”
His comments were part of a discussion about lawmakers’ failure to pass legislation this week to fix the DACA program and create a path to citizenship for some 800,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. President Trump announced last September that he would end the DACA program, created by the Obama administration.
Trump gave lawmakers six months to pass legislation to address the issue. That deadline expires in March, although federal courts may delay that from happening.
Limbaugh, like Trump, argued that blame for the failure by Senators to pass any of the four different immigration proposals before them on Thursday lies squarely with the Democrats, even though Trump decided to end DACA in the first place.
On Friday, the president tweeted that he could not believe “how BADLY DACA recipients have been treated by the Democrats…totally abandoned! Republicans are still working hard.”
Limbaugh took the argument further by accusing Democrats of solely caring about undocumented immigrants to use them as political pawns.
“It’s a political issue that the Democrats don’t want solved,” Limbaugh told Fox’s Chris Wallace. “All this is, is an effort by the Democrat Party to provide for themselves a current underclass. They need a permanent underclass that is dependent on the government for their survival…They don’t want the issue solved.”