Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) wants to use Tuesday night’s State of the Union address to detain immigrants, tweeting Tuesday afternoon that he reached out to the U.S. Capitol Police and Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking that they “consider checking identification of all attending the State of the Union address and arresting any illegal aliens in attendance.”
Additionally, Gosar tweeted, the congressman asked that they “arrest those using fraudulent social security numbers and identification to pass through security.”
A number of legislators, including Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) have invited Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients, and others, including Reps. Sandy Levin (D-MI) and Debbie Dingell (D-MI) have invited family members of deported immigrants.
No member of Congress has announced their intention to invite an undocumented immigrant to the State of the Union, but they are also not required to publicly identify their guests.
Notably, it’s not actually possible to tell a person’s immigration status from most forms of ID, and Gosar’s message is almost certainly a craven intimidation tactic for many guests who may have immigration statuses hanging in the balance.
“Of all the places where the Rule of Law needs to be enforced, it should be in the hallowed halls of Congress,” Gosar tweeted. “Any illegal aliens attempting to go through security, under the pretext of any invitation or otherwise, should be arrested and deported.”
Gosar’s call for the arrest of any “illegal alien” quickly drew the ire some of his colleagues. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) retweeted Gosar Tuesday afternoon, adding, “What’s wrong with you?”
Hardly two hours before, Crowley announced he would be bringing a DACA recipient — a former intern of Crowley’s — to the address Tuesday night as his guest.
“Romer is worth fighting for, and he is part of my motivation to find a resolution for DREAMers,” Crowley said in a statement. “DREAMers like Romer… deserve an answer on their future.”
Sen. Jeff Flake retweeted Gosar, too, adding, “This is why we can’t have nice things…”