Republicans Turn on One of Their Own Over Immigration Remark
Republicans attacked one of their own, GOP Representative Maria Salazar, on Tuesday after the Florida congresswoman urged the nation to treat undocumented immigrants already living in the U.S. with "dignity."
Speaking as part of a bipartisan panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday, Salazar said after closing off America's borders, the U.S. should then offer "dignity" to the tens of millions of people living in the country without citizenship.
"It's time to seal the border....Put order. Let's see who comes in and who doesn't. And then turn around and give dignity—that doesn't mean a path to citizenship—that means to include them and make them dignified members of our community," Salazar, who is Cuban American, said.
Her remarks sparked backlash from conservatives who disagreed with those views and called for her to be stripped of her congressional committee assignments.
One twitter user, @amuse, called for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to remove Salazar from the Committee on Foreign Affairs, tweeting, "We need fewer globalists on committees. Yo @mattgaetz fix it."
"Republican Maria Salazar traveled to Davos, Switzerland, to call for amnesty for 15,000,000 illegals in America," former Republican congressional candidate Lavern Spicer tweeted. "Someone needs to primary her. That might just be beyond forgiveness."
This is not the first time the Florida Republican has been outspoken about giving dignity to undocumented immigrants.
In March 2021, she and other GOP members of Congress called for an overhaul of the immigration system that would include giving citizenship to DREAMers and create a 10-year path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
"No political party holds a monopoly on compassion in our country," she said back then.
On Tuesday, Salazar said that undocumented immigrants make up a significant number of her constituents in Florida's 27th Congressional District, which is entirely within Miami-Dade County and includes the heavily Cuban American neighborhood of Little Havana in Miami.
According to Data USA, the population in Salazar's district is 72 percent Hispanic and roughly 76 percent are U.S. citizens, which is lower than the national average of 93.4 percent.
"Those are the people that I represent," the congresswoman said from Davos. "We're talking about 13 to 15 million people, who are, most of them, Hispanics—I would say 85 percent—who speak my language, look like me and sound like me, that are contributing with the economy of this country and they live in the shadows."
Salazar's remarks were widely mocked online by social media users who criticized her for suggesting that she would give undocumented immigrants the same representation as U.S. citizens in her district.
"Maria Salazar DOES NOT represent illegal immigrants, she represents AMERICAN citizens," one Twitter user wrote. "You know, the very citizens that PAY HER SALARY."
"Florida deserves better," former Fox News producer Breanna Morello tweeted. "It's time to primary Congresswoman Maria Salazar."
Political consultant Ryan Girdusky added, "A comet could be hurdling towards earth and Maria Salazar would scream, 'protect the illegal aliens first.'"
Data from the U.S. Border Patrol has shown that there has been an unprecedented number of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border over the last two and a half years—a statistic that Republicans have seized on and used against the Biden administration.
According to the Immigration Research Library, there are approximately 44 million immigrants living in the U.S., 23 percent of whom are undocumented.
Newsweek reached out to Salazar for comment.