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Tri-Caucus Chairs Demand the Anti-Defamation League Condemn Congressman Randy Weber’s Anti-Immigrant Remarks

ADL recently awarded Rep. Weber with the prestigious America’s Democratic Legacy Award

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Washington, July 3, 2019 | comments

The Tri-Caucus Chairs – which includes the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), and Congressional Asian-Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) – called on Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and Director of the Anti-Defamation League to publicly condemn Rep. Weber’s language and reconsider his receipt of the prestigious America’s Democratic Legacy Award

Congressman Weber yelled “Build the Wall!” during the Motion to Recommit (MTR) debate on H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act, which would give legal status and a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients, and provide permanent legal protections to TPS and DED recipients. His outburst interrupted Congressman Joe Neguse’s speech on his experience as the son of African immigrants. Congressman Weber offered a private apology to the ADL, who had awarded him the America’s Democratic Legacy Award just hours prior to the incident. This is not the first time Rep. Weber has made inappropriate and divisive comments. He has also previously compared President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler.

The letter was signed by Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass (CA-37), Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Joaquin Castro (TX-20), and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Chair Judy Chu (CA-27). 

“The Anti-Defamation League established the American’s Democratic Legacy Award to recognize “those precious few individuals who have helped make our nation a place where freedom, equality and democracy are cherished rights forever.” Past recipients include President John F. Kennedy, President Ronald Reagan, and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.  With such distinguished company, we expect the ADL to use the highest-level of scrutiny in bestowing their most esteemed award,” the Members wrote. “Rep. Weber’s actions…fail to demonstrate his commitment to making this nation a place of freedom, equality, and democracy for all people. Rep. Weber’s conduct and his subsequent apology suggest that he does not embody the values underlying America’s Democratic Legacy Award.  We urge the Anti-Defamation League to publicly rebuke Rep. Weber’s actions and reconsider his receipt of this award.”

Full text of the letter follows and can be found here

 

Dear Mr. Greenblatt,

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), and the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) known collectively as the Congressional Tri-Caucus respectfully urges the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to reconsider Rep. Randy Weber’s (TX-14) America’s Democratic Legacy Award in light of him yelling “Build the wall!” on the House floor during debate for H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019.  Rep. Weber made the exclamation—at least two times—within hours of personally collecting the Award for his role on the House Bipartisan Task Force for Combatting Anti-Semitism.  History shows that anti-immigrant sentiment and anti-Semitism go hand in hand and regrettably we are witnessing a rise in hate speech and hate crimes toward communities of color, Muslims, immigrants, and Jews.  The Congressional Tri-Caucus has repeatedly joined many civil rights organizations in condemning discrimination and hate speech that conjures nationalist attitudes.  Therefore, we ask the ADL to publicly condemn Rep. Weber’s language and reconsider his receipt of the prestigious America’s Democratic Legacy Award.

At the time of Rep. Weber’s exclamations, Rep. Joe Neguse (CO-2) was formally addressing the House Chamber to express his unique appreciation for this country and the freedom it afforded to him as the son of two African immigrants.  Rep. Neguse shared his family’s immigrant experience in support of legislation that extends legal protections for child migrants and asylum-seekers. It is deeply unfortunate that this powerful moment was punctuated by calls to build the wall along the southern border, where children are currently being held in cages and a humanitarian crisis is taking place.

While the ADL has informed the CHC that Rep. Weber issued a private apology retracing his remarks, we find his apology to be insufficient and misleading.  He misrepresented the Republican’s Motion to Recommit (MTR) to justify his hate speech.  The MTR did not include any additional funding for border security. The MTR in question sought to expand the use of controversial gang databases in an effort to disqualify more immigrants from gaining citizenship.  This is not the first time Rep. Weber has made inappropriate and divisive comments.  In 2015, the ADL was also made aware of a tweet by Rep. Weber comparing President Obama unfavorably to Adolf Hitler.  Rep. Weber later issued an apology for his tweet.  

The Anti-Defamation League established the American’s Democratic Legacy Award to recognize “those precious few individuals who have helped make our nation a place where freedom, equality and democracy are cherished rights forever.” Past recipients include President John F. Kennedy, President Ronald Reagan, and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.  With such distinguished company, we expect the ADL to use the highest-level of scrutiny in bestowing their most esteemed award.  Rep. Weber’s actions on the House floor fail to demonstrate his commitment to making this nation a place of freedom, equality, and democracy for all people. 

Rep. Weber’s conduct and his subsequent apology suggest that he does not embody the values underlying America’s Democratic Legacy Award.  We urge the Anti-Defamation League to publicly rebuke Rep. Weber’s actions and reconsider his receipt of this award.

Enclosed please find an attachment that includes information on Rep. Weber’s 2015 tweet.  If you have any questions, please contact our Executive Director, Alma Acosta at alma.acosta@mail.house.gov.

Sincerely,

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