The Gang of 34, a group of Republican members of Congress who signed a letter addressed to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan demanding Congress take immediate action to pass DACA-style amnesty legislation, have been heavily criticized by the media and their constituents alike in recent weeks, leading to a growing base of support for grassroots conservatives challenging the signers of the letter in the 2018 Congressional Elections. Of the letter’s 34 signers, 21 of them represent districts carried by President Trump in the 2016 Presidential Election, signaling a clear referendum against amnesty by their constituents. Despite such a referendum, these members of Congress seem intent on ramming through an amnesty program with no regard to the burden the American people would be forced to bear, or the message such legislation would send to those of the legal immigrant community who have spent their lives working towards becoming Americans. In fact, the letter makes no mention of increased security or the construction of a wall along our southern border as conditions of an amnesty agreement, showing the signers are content with leaving our southern border open to future illegal migration, standing in stark contrast to recent statements by Vice President Mike Pence.
Fallout for members of the Gang of 34 has been swift and immense, though for none more than Congressman Scott Taylor of Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District. Taylor, a first-term Congressman being challenged by conservative activist Mary Jones for his district’s Republican nomination in 2018, has quickly become the poster boy for the pro-amnesty contingent of the Republican Party. Following the publication of an article by Numbers USA documenting the pro-amnesty letter, as well as social media postings from Numbers USA linked accounts encouraging Taylor’s constituents to express their dismay towards his record, Taylor unleashed a barrage of attacks on the organization which culminated in an alleged bomb threat directed towards Numbers USA’s office.
Despite the recent attention paid to Taylor following his attacks on Numbers USA, Will Hurd of Texas’ 23rd Congressional District may be the most notable member of the Gang of 34 due to his District’s unique geography. Texas’ 23rd, carried by President Trump in 2016, covers a whopping ⅓ of the US-Mexico border, stretching east to west from San Antonio to El Paso, in a region heavily impacted by illegal immigration. In addition to signing the pro-amnesty letter, Hurd has recently made headlines after drafting a piece of legislation with California Democrat Pete Aguilar, billed as a ‘no border wall DACA solution.’
As is the case with Congressman Taylor, one of Hurd’s conservative constituents has stepped forward to challenge him for the Republican nomination to Congress later this year. Alma Arredondo-Lynch, a dentist from Uvalde, Texas, stands in stark contrast to Hurd on the issues of immigration and border security, proudly proclaiming her support for President Trump’s plans for a border wall on her campaign website. In addition to her support for a border wall, the ‘issues’ section of Arredondo-Lynch’s website calls out MS-13, the notorious Salvadoran gang flourishing in the United States as a result of lax immigration enforcement and border security, and gives Congressman Hurd a strong reality check in regards to his support for a ‘virtual wall.’ Arredondo-Lynch has been endorsed by a number of well known Texas conservatives, including radio host and Fox News contributor George Rodriguez, the former President of the San Antonio Tea Party.
The debate over President Trump’s plans for a border wall have been turned up a few notches this week, and plans to build the wall are picking up steam as the debates over illegal immigration and border security take center stage following President Trump’s signing of the Republican tax bill last month.
ALIPAC’s Kate’s List – Gang of 34 members:
**Indicates Congressional Districts won by President Trump in 2016