Sometimes, in politics, gaffes just aren’t gaffes. Instead, they provide some pretty significant insight into exactly what the other person is thinking. Rep. Tom Malinowski’s comments about illegal immigrants fall right into that category.
Malinowski is a freshman Democrat, one of several who managed to win seats from Republicans in the suburbs and exurbs of New Jersey in the 2018 midterms.
During an event on Tuesday, he made the usual noises about how illegal immigration is a net positive because immigrants fill positions American citizens won’t. This is hardly a new argument, but sometimes it’s how you say something as opposed to what you say.
“Because the reason this happens is there are a lot of jobs in our community that like it or not, for better or worse, Americans are not willing to take,” Malinowski said at the “coffee with your congressman” event.
“Who do you think is taking care of our seniors? Fifty percent of the elder care workers in the state of New Jersey are immigrants, most of them legal, most of them documented,” he said
“Who do you think is mowing our beautiful lawns in Somerset County? We don’t usually ask, but a lot of those workers are undocumented.”
“There are just not a lot of kids, sorry, from Montgomery High who are going to be doing that full time. You guys are going into robotics, for goodness sakes,” he said, eliciting laughter.
— NRCC (@NRCC) August 22, 2019
According to the Washington Examiner, which first reported Malinowski’s solecism, the event occurred at a café in the upscale suburb of Hillsborough.
“You’re a bunch of elitists. You’re not going to mow lawns,” he told the crowd.
There are so many things wrong with this that it’s difficult to figure out where to begin.
Beyond the fact that, yes, people do mow their own lawns in 2019, there’s the strange assumption that a need for beautifully mowed lawns justifies illegal immigration.
People forget that there’s actually assorted costs with illegal immigration that go beyond the need for cheap labor.
And beyond that, Malinowski is tacitly admitting what illegal immigration is about: obtaining inexpensive labor so that “elitists” don’t have to pay as much to have their lawns mowed by documented immigrants or American citizens.
Malinowski is going to be a major target in 2020. Not only is New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District a swing district — it’s the fifth-wealthiest in the United States and has 5,000 more registered Republicans than Democrats, according to Politico — but Malinowski hasn’t exactly distinguished himself as a moderate.
“Malinowski was the first New Jersey member of the House — and, according to him, the first member from a swing district anywhere in the country — to call for impeachment proceedings to begin against Trump,” Politico’s Matt Friedman reported.
“He also took the lead in condemning the president for telling the four minority congresswomen who make up the Squad — three of whom are U.S.-born — to ‘go back’ to their countries.”
How are these remarks this going to play in 2020?
Probably not well.
After all, this isn’t the kind of district where an open embrace of illegal immigration is going to hep the seat-holder. Good luck explaining to the voters how the real purpose of illegal immigrants is to mow those beautiful, beautiful lawns.
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