Harris appointee to meet with lawmakers over immigration tweets

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Harris appointee to meet with lawmakers over immigration tweets

Vice President Kamala Harris’ newly appointed communications director will meet with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus this week to discuss old tweets of his that resurfaced this month about undocumented immigrants.

Jamal Simmons, 50, who was named to his new position in the first week of January, is set to meet virtually with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Thursday, sources told CBS News.

Simmons had received backlash from pundits and politicians on both sides of the aisle for several tweets from 2010, which appeared to call for the deportation of undocumented immigrants.

“Just saw 2 undocumented folks talking on MSNBC. One Law student the other a protester. Can someone explain why ICE is not picking them up?” he wrote in November 2010.

“I’ll try this again,” read another tweet posted the same day. “Just saw 2 undocumented folks talking on MSNBC and have a serious legal question. Why wouldn’t ICE pick them up?” 

“We shld harden borders & ease visas/find ways to bring undocumented into legal status/punish employers. My was common sense one,” Simmons insisted in a third tweet.

Simmons has since apologized for the tweets, explaining that during his experience as a pundit, he “tweeted a lot of and spoken out on public issues.” 

Jamal Simmons.
Jamal Simmons’ tweets from 2010 appeared to call for the deportation of undocumented immigrants.
John Lamparski/Getty Images for Advertising Week New York

“As a pundit for much of my career I have tweeted a lot and spoken out on public issues. Sometimes I have been sarcastic, unclear, or just plainly missed the mark,” he said in a statement. 

“I sincerely apologize for offending those who care as much as I do about making America the best, multi-ethnic, diverse democracy it can be.  I know the role I am taking on is to represent the Biden-Harris administration, and I will do so with humility, sincerity and respect.”

Since the tweets have resurfaced, several Latino lawmakers are looking to chat with the vice president’s communications director, calling his remarks “stunning.” 

“The statements that Jamal made were just stunning, beyond stunning. Words cannot describe my feelings,” Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) told Axios, adding that he might ask Simmons if he is a President Donald Trump supporter.

Jamal Simmons' apology.
Jamal Simmons apologized for his old tweets, which several Latino lawmakers called “stunning.”
Twitter/@JamalSimmons

“I am being public about it, because he was public. He was honest. And I am being honest. And that’s what the public deserves.”

People familiar with the matter told the outlet that Correa, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Reps. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Ill.) and Norma Torres (D-Calif.) are the key lawmakers offended by the posts. 

A White House official confirmed the plans for the Thursday meeting to CBS News, noting that the meeting was “mutually agreed.” 

Other past tweets and statements from Simmons have also raised questions after some revealed the long-time Democratic aide repeatedly insisted that President George W. Bush’s first presidential election victory was “illegitimate.”

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