Democratic lawmaker refuses to meet with new Harris aide about immigration comments

Democratic lawmaker refuses to meet with new Harris aide about immigration comments

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Rep. Lou Correa, D-Calif., a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHS), is refusing to meet with Jamal Simmons, Vice President Kamala Harris’ new communications director, regarding his resurfaced tweets about illegal immigration.

Simmons is scheduled to meet with congressional House Democrats on Thursday after they expressed concern about tweets from November 2010. In one, Simmons reacted to an MSNBC interview with two undocumented immigrants by wondering “why ICE is not picking them up.”

In a subsequent tweet, Simmons wrote, “I’ll try this again: Just saw 2 undocumented folks talking on MSNBC and have serious legal question. Why wouldn’t ICE pick them up?”

“The deep concern to me is this may show his true disposition when it comes to immigration. That’s what my concern is. A meeting is not going to change my mind or give me peace of mind one way or the other,” said Correa, according to The Hill.

“Everybody changes. I think Mr. Simmons, like I, we all change our predisposition, our perspective on issues, and you know what, I think actions speak louder than words,” Correa also said.

Rep. Lou Correa, D-Calif., speaks during a rally for immigration provisions to be included in the Build Back Better Act outside the U.S. Capitol on Dec. 7, 2021. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Rep. Lou Correa, D-Calif., speaks during a rally for immigration provisions to be included in the Build Back Better Act outside the U.S. Capitol on Dec. 7, 2021. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Simmons apologized after the tweets were unearthed, writing, “As a pundit I tweeted+spoke A LOT. At times I’ve been sarcastic, unclear or plainly missed the mark. I apologize for offending ppl who care as much as I do about making America the best, multiethnic, diverse democracy+I’ll rep the Biden-Harris admin w/humility, sincerity+respect.” 

Simmons has also expressed in conversations with House members that his controversial tweets, while poorly worded, were intended to point out the legal dangers that face illegal immigrants who reveal their undocumented status.

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Vice President Kamala Harris was crushed on Thursday after she gave a bizarre non-answer when asked if it’s time for the Biden administration to change its COVID strategy.  (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Simmons reached out to Erika Andiola, whose interview prompted his decade-old tweet, to apologize and explain.

“Jamal committed to be an ally in his role,” Andiola assured her Twitter followers. “He acknowledged that the tweet was hurtful in the way it was written & explained that his intention was not to call for ICE to pick us up, but to understand the legality of how undocu folks were on TV without possible legal consequences.”

Andiola also said that she accepted Simmons’ apology, writing that “people who I truly love and respect (including undocu folks) know him, and they’ve known his stances on immigration for years.”

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Simmons took over for Harris’ former communications director Ashley Etienne, who left her role in December “to pursue other opportunities” amid horrific poll numbers for Harris and growing criticism of the vice president.

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