Republican Manufactured Immigration Crises
Intended Consequence of Republican Messaging?
Drumming up angst over caravans of immigrants coming from Central America, “rapists and murderers” all, were a key feature of Trump’s 2016 campaign. Rampant immigration was the justification for his “Build the Wall” rallies. Fox News was especially good at breathless coverage of the latest caravan. More recently, Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis’, a presidential aspirant, and Texas Governor Greg Abbot’s heartless stunts shipping legal asylum seekers north to score political points remind us that immigration remains an issue that Republicans find useful.
Surges of migration from Central America are usually covered in the media as caused by gangs, political repression, and poor economic conditions in some Central American countries. But why do surges seem to happen in the lead up to elections, just in time to rile up fear and hate for electoral advantage?
Thanks to Martha Raddatz and Thom Hartmann and a basic understanding of how people are motivated to make desperate migrations, we may have a better way of looking at the phenomenon. Start by asking yourself if you’ve ever heard a Democrat say anything about “open borders”. Then remind yourselves of the unified buzzword messaging that the Republican Party and right wing media are really good at.
I’ve copied Hartmann’s article below. I don’t always agree with the opinions he expresses in his almost daily The Hartmann Report, but I always find it interesting reading, and this time I really think he nailed it.
Keep to the high ground,
Who on Earth would want to send thousands of desperate people to our Southern border just in time for every midterm facing a Democratic president? Who would be that crass and cynical?
Thom Hartmann Dec 20
Just a month ago we finished President Biden’s first midterm election and, as predictably as the sun rises in the east, right around election time and for the months afterward a wave of refugees and immigrants have shown up at our southern border.
This happens every two years when a Democratic President is in office. And finally the US news media seems to be getting a clue as to why. More about that in a moment.
Notwithstanding Fox “News” hysteria about a “caravan” of immigrants heading for the border during Obama’s last year as president, in the months leading up to the 2016 election, by that time, as Politico noted:
“In fiscal year 2017, the last year of the Obama administration and the first of Trump’s, 303,916 migrants were arrested by the Border Patrol. This was the lowest level in more than three decades.”
The last big “surge” was two years earlier, five months before President Obama’s second 2014 midterm elections. You may remember when the southern border was suddenly overwhelmed by an unexpected wave of immigrants and refugees and it was all over the news with apprehensions at 220,000, up from just 96,000 the non-election year before.
The crush of people “somebody” had sent to the United States was so intense Obama had to declare it an “urgent humanitarian situation,” thus enabling him to mobilize more resources to block or deal with the seemingly-unending stream of desperate humanity.
The same thing happened, mysteriously, during Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign; the severity of the border crisis during that election year led to President Obama taking executive actions that included creating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and an expansion of provisional waivers.
Who sent them and why do they so conveniently and predictably arrive just in time for elections (and echo for a few months afterwards)?
During Obama’s first midterm election, the fall and winter of 2010, another “sudden wave” of immigrants provoked Arizona to put into law the notorious “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act.”
It famously allowed Arizona police to stop and even arrest people they suspected may look like “illegal immigrants,” and required police to investigate the immigration status of all persons detained. It was so odious that four of its major provisions were declared unconstitutional two years later by fellow Republicans on the US Supreme Court.
The wave of immigrants who hit our border in 1998, Bill Clinton’s last midterm election, was so severe that he initiated the Border Safety Initiative (BSI) and cut a joint-cooperation deal with Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo.
Four years earlier, the surge that showed up for the 1994 midterm election caused Clinton to produce and implement the first Border Patrol Strategic Plan.
Who on Earth would want to send desperate thousands of people to our Southern border just in time for every midterm facing a Democratic president? Who would be that crass and cynical?
ABC host and reporter Martha Raddatz interviewed Texas Governor Greg Abbott last weekend. As if on cue, he insisted the sudden tsunami of immigrants and refugees on his state’s southern border was all Biden’s fault.
But — finally, after decades! — a reporter had heard enough Republican bullshit about immigration and the border.
“You talk about the border wall, you talk about open borders,” Raddatz said to Abbott, “but I don’t think I've ever heard President Biden say, ‘we have an open border, come on over.’
“But people I have heard say it are you, are former President Trump, Ron DeSantis; that message reverberates in Mexico and beyond. So they do get the message that it is an ‘open border,’ and smugglers use all those kinds of statements.”
Whenever there’s a Democrat in the White House, literally hundreds of Republican politicians step up to the microphone or tell their local newspapers and radio stations about how the president has suddenly “opened up America’s southern border!!!”
It’s a lie, but they amplify it as hard as they can.
Those news stories and press releases make their way via social media and the internet to desperate people in Venezuela, Central America, and Mexico. Impoverished people there aren’t knowledgeable enough about American politics to see the message for the cynical political ploy it is, so they abandon home and family to begin the dangerous and often deadly trek to the US.
Democrats don’t say our borders are open, and, as far as I can tell, never have. In March of 2021 the rightwing Washington Examiner newspaper went on a search for Democrats proclaiming that we’d “opened!” the southern border in the first months of Joe Biden’s presidency.
They found nothing. Well, they found that both Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema had called the situation on our southern border “a crisis,” as well as a Democratic congresswoman from Michigan who was merely acknowledging the surge of immigrants. And a single Democratic mayor in Texas who also said it was a crisis. That’s it.
But literally hundreds of Republican politicians, just like they do every two years, have spent the past few months proclaiming to every despairing potential refugee south of our border that the door is wide open. Just google “open border” and “congressman,” “congresswoman,” or “senator” and you’ll get a list too long to print.
At the top of that list just from the past few months, of course, you’ll find the most contemptible Republican demagogues:
— Ted Cruz wants everybody south of our border to know that the “Biden Open Border Policy [is] A Very Craven Political Decision”;
— Rick Scott wants everybody to know that “Americans Don’t Want [Biden’s] Open Borders”;
— Marco Rubio says there’s “Nothing Compassionate About Biden’s Open Border Policies”;
— Rand Paul is so extreme he tells us Senator Rubio “is the one for an open border”;
— Josh Hawley says “Biden’s Open Border Policy Has Created a Moral Crisis”;
— Tom Cotton “Insists the Border is Wide Open”;
— Ron Johnson wants the world to know that “Our National Security is at Risk Because Democrats have Turned Border Security into a Partisan Issue”;
— Marjorie Taylor Greene “BLASTS Open Border Hypocrites”;
— Mo Brooks opposes “Socialist Democrats’ Open Border Policies for Helping Kill Americans”;
— Lauren Boebert says the “Root Cause” of the open border crisis “is in the White House”;
— Matt Gaetz “revealed a complex and deceitful agenda by Joe Biden’s Democrat administration to evade our Southern Border law enforcement”;
— Gym Jordan says “Biden’s Deliberate Support of Illegal Immigration Could Lead to Impeachment”;
— Kevin McCarthy says the Biden Administration has “Utterly Failed” to secure the “open border”;
— Elise Stefanik proclaims “Biden’s Open Border Policies have been a Complete Disaster.”
— Tom Cole’s website features “Biden’s Open Border America”;
— Bob Goode brags about introducing legislation named the “Close Biden’s Open Border Act”;
— John Rose “Calls Out Biden’s Open Border Policies”;
— Paul Gosar claims Biden is “Destroying America with His Open Border Policies”;
— Roger Williams complains about the “Democrats’ Open Border Problem”;
— Tom Cole wants the world to know that Biden’s “open border policies have given the green light to migrants and bad actors from around the world…”;
— Gus Bilirakis “Denounces Dangerous Open Border Policies on the House Floor”;
The list goes on and on.
Democrats, on the other hand, only want people coming into the country legally and have tried to deal with the issue responsibly. That’s why they don’t shout so loud it can be heard in Venezuela that the US border is “open.” Most, in fact, refuse to even use the phrase, because it’s a naked political lie.
Every two years, this misanthropic Republican crew provokes a crisis on America’s southern border because it plays into their narrative that Democrats are encouraging more Brown people — “soon-to-be Democrat voters” they call them on rightwing hate radio — to come to the USA to “replace” good upstanding white people.
Lest you think this biennial Republican rhetoric isn’t a cynical political ploy but is, instead, a good-faith effort to identify and fix a problem, look at the vote recently on legislation that would update our immigration system and fund a more effective border patrol. Only five Republicans could bring themselves to say “yes” to doing something about this situation.
Republicans are playing a dirty game with people’s lives. Somebody needs to ask these degenerate political SOBs:
“What it would take for you to leave your home with all your possessions in a small bag and travel a thousand miles on foot risking rape, robbery, kidnapping, torture, and the murder of yourself and your family members?”
There’s not a single Republican in Congress with half the courage of these men, women, and children who have risked everything — including their own lives — to answer the “Open Borders!!!” call the GOP puts out every two years just to score political points against Democratic presidents.
Thank G-d for Martha Raddatz. Hopefully more reporters will start asking Republicans why they hang out the welcome sign every two years and then blame Democrats when desperate people answer their call.