The South Padre Island congressman who called for a ban on “sanctuary cities” is moving forward with his plan to strip people of their citizenship.
Representative Joe Wilson, who was sworn in as South Padres Republican chairman, announced Tuesday that he will propose a bill in the House of Representatives to remove the citizenship of those in the country illegally and bar them from returning.
Wilson has been a vocal critic of President Donald Trump and is a member of the House Freedom Caucus, a conservative faction that supports the Republican agenda.
His bill will be sent to the House floor for a vote, but it won’t become law until after the 2020 election.
Wilson’s proposal was the first of its kind in Congress, and it has garnered a strong reception from Democrats.
“My proposal will help ensure that Americans born here in the United States have the constitutional rights, freedoms, and opportunities they deserve, and will help protect our nation from criminals and terrorists who would flee our country to commit acts of terror,” Wilson said in a statement Tuesday.
“While I’m sure some will disagree with my approach, I think the American people deserve a leader who is honest and tough about our immigration system.”
Wilson’s move follows a series of other GOP leaders who have called for immigration reform legislation in recent months.
“We need a president who is going to be a champion for Americans who are here illegally,” Rep. Joaquin Castro, the chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said in March.
“It is important that we find a solution that gives them an opportunity to get legal status, which is what Wilson’s bill is.”
He also said, “The bill Wilson introduced this week is not the right approach, and I’m confident he will reverse course as soon as the Congress convenes in January.”
The White House and congressional Republicans have called Wilson’s measure “pathetic” and said it would be a step toward the kind of mass deportations that have long been a staple of the GOP’s immigration policy.
The White Houses Office of the Press Secretary did not respond to a request for comment on Wilson’s proposed legislation.
The plan, however, could face strong resistance in the Republican-controlled Congress.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who chairs the House Hispanic Caucus and has been outspoken against Wilson, said Tuesday he would not support Wilson’s legislation in the next Congress.
“I don’t think Joe Wilson will be able to have this bill passed,” Gutierrez said on MSNBC.
“There are Republicans who would kill it, and the same Republicans who voted to give amnesty to DREAMers in the first place.”
The congressman added that he would “work with Joe Wilson and other Republicans in Congress to address this issue.”