Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) is running for Senate on a virulently anti-immigrant platform.
Given that most of the Republican Party has embraced Trump’s hateful policies and rhetoric on immigration, it takes a lot these days to be called out as one of the most anti-immigrant Republican candidates in the country.
But Rep. Lou Barletta, who is the GOP nominee for Senate in Pennsylvania, somehow managed it.
“In a February campaign mailer, Barletta wrote that ‘America is at war’ with undocumented immigrants,” Mother Jones reports. Barletta also “falsely claimed that ‘with every day that passes, more Americans are killed or victimized’ by ‘violent criminal aliens’ and ‘radical terrorists.'”
Studies have repeatedly shown that immigrants, both those who are here legally and those who aren’t, actually commit less crime than native U.S. citizens.
But Barletta would rather focus on rhetoric that divides neighbors rather than on that which unites us.
Barletta’s fringe stance on immigration has been described as “hand-in-glove with the president” by Pennsylvania political observers.
When the Trump administration began cruelly separating families at the southern border, Barletta was one of the few people who defended Trump’s actions.
According to Mother Jones, Barletta has been an “immigration hardliner” ever since he was mayor of Hazleton. He vowed to make Hazleton “the toughest place on illegal immigrants in America,” and implemented radical ordinances which were later struck down court.
Mother Jones ranks Barletta alongside a who’s who list of other unsavory nominees like Brian Kemp, the Georgia nominee who is seeking to win by disenfranchising minority voters.
Kansas gubernatorial nominee Kris Kobach, who ran a years-long scheme to profit off of drafting and defending fringe anti-immigration laws, also makes the list.
While not on the list, fellow Pennsylvanian Rep. Scott Perry shares many of Barletta’s positions. Both men defended Trump’s family separation policy, and both are well-known for their anti-immigrant stances.
Barletta’s extreme positions don’t seem to be helping him with voters, however.
One recent poll shows Barletta trailing Democratic Senator Bob Casey by 15 points.
Judging by the polls, voters in Pennsylvania are heartily rejecting the Trump-Barletta anti-immigration agenda.