Like nearly all conservatives I know, I’ve been impressed by most of Donald Trump’s selections for key posts in his administration. Jeff Sessions, Mike Pompeo, Tom Price, Gen. James Mattis, and Nikki Haley all seem like excellent choices.
Trump hasn’t yet selected a head for the Department of Homeland Security. Under current conditions, this job is as important as any in the administration.
One of the frontrunners is said to be Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas. In my view, McCaul would be a bad choice.
It isn’t just that outgoing DHS head Jeh Johnson has basically endorsed McCaul, though this raises an obvious red flag. The main objection — and the reason, presumably, for the Johnson endorsement — is McCaul’s record on immigration.
Brendan Kirby of PoliZette points out that McCaul was one of just 19 House Republicans who signed then-Speaker John Boehner’s statement of immigration principles, which, in effect, embraced amnesty. McCaul also voted for President Obama’s budgets allowing for the implementation of executive actions shielding certain classes of immigrants from deportation.
Moreover, according to Roy Beck head of Numbers USA, McCaul sponsored a 2013 bill that would have gutted an existing law creating a system to track people entering and leaving the United States on visas. Another bill, co-sponsored by McCaul and liberal Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, would have watered down requirements of the Secure Fence Act of 2006. And in 2014, McCaul sponsored a weak border security bill that resulted in only 27 miles of double-layer fencing.
Numbers USA gives McCaul a C-plus lifetime grade, which places him in the bottom fifth of Republicans in the House. Beck concludes that McCaul is “not terrible, but he’s pretty mediocre, overall.”
The estimable Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, takes basically the same view. He says of McCaul, ““I’m skeptical, frankly; we need to have the most hawkish DHS secretary who’s confirmable.”
Krikorian is right. We shouldn’t settle for a DHS head who is “pretty mediocre” on immigration. Let’s hope that president-elect Trump agrees.