One of the major ploys of right-wing media is to get people to fear immigrants. This is not only evident in America; it’s a popular narrative all around the world, but I’m going to focus on America here.
Since no sane, well-educated person would vote for the Republican Party, they can only appeal to emotion. One of the most powerful emotions is fear. It can lead people to bypass critical analysis of a topic and jump straight to a conclusion that makes them feel good. The fear in this case is of course that of the dreaded ‘illegals.’
Since the Democrats pretty much agree with the Republicans on everything, the Republicans have to straw man the Democrat’s positions to make them seem much more radical than they are. The buzzword being echoed now in right-wing circles is “open borders.” Never mind that not one single elected congressional Democrat is advocating for open borders; right-wing Americanism is the most anti-intellectual Western culture I know of, so they are confident their audiences will not fact check this claim.
But it should be a hard sell anyways, given that president Obama deported more than three million people: more than any previous president, and the majority of which were Latinos. This earned him the moniker “Deporter in Chief.” So if open borders are a policy of today’s Democratic Party, it is a 180 degree turn from their past policy and should require a substantial amount of evidence for normal people to take it seriously; attractive women speaking confidently on Fox just won’t do.
So what evidence is there? Not much. To date, no open border bills have been proposed in congress and no member of Congress or presidential candidate has come out in favor of open borders. Hillary and Biden have both proposed border walls (or ‘barriers’). Some presidential candidates did say they wouldn’t deport any illegals who had committed no non-immigration crimes, but the records of the Democratic Party in Congress still contradict this, and it is standard procedure for Democrats to pretend to be more progressive than they actually are in primaries. Look at their actions, not their words.
Several times over the last two years the Democrats offered to strengthen border security and even put forth money to build Trump’s wall. Trump claimed he vetoed the most promising bill because it outlined a path to citizenship for dreamers. The more likely reason for his veto is that he wants to prolong the immigration debate so he can use it in his next election campaign.
So Trump is rejecting a solution to the border ‘crisis.’ If it’s really the national emergency he pretends it is, this would be wildly irresponsible. Luckily for him the crisis is completely made up.
In 2017 immigration at the southern border was at its lowest point in 45 years. The only real interesting new development is that the immigrants arriving at the southern border are now more than half non-Mexican. In fact, immigration from Mexico over the last couple of years is net zero, meaning there are just as many people moving TO Mexico as from it. Most recent arrivals come from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. This is a happy coincidence for right-wing media, because people from such countries have to pass through Mexico to get to the US, and this is a dangerous endeavor; there are Mexican gangs and corrupt cops ready to rob them or hurt them in other ways all along the way, so it’s better to travel in numbers. Where as we used to have the not-so-fear-inducing individual or small group trying to cross the border at night, now we have the dreaded ‘caravans.’ The potential for photo ops that these present are a right-wing fearmonger’s wet dream.
Some outliers in the Democratic Party have called for the abolition of ICE. Right-wing propaganda outlets have seized on this as evidence that Democrats are in favor of open borders. They are hoping their viewers are stupid enough to think that ICE, an organization founded in 2003, is fully responsible for border security. It is also worth noting that the people wanting to abolish ICE, like OAC and Ilhan Omar, are despised by the mainstream of the Democratic Party. Speaker Pelosi arrogantly dismissed this new progressive fringe as “only like five people.”
The majority of these recent migrants are not ‘illegals’ in the literal sense of the word; they are asylum seekers. Most of them are not trying to sneak across; they’re walking up to the border and applying for asylum, braking no law, and they are detained as their applications are processed, as is standard procedure around the world. But that’s not scary enough, so the media floods us with pictures of overcrowded detention centers. Though immigration is down, detentions are up.
This is a win win situation. For the uninformed, it looks like there is a real immigration crisis when the only real crisis is the US policy of family separation. It also provides Washington with another cultural wedge issue; this way the Democrats and Republicans can look like they oppose each other even though they agree on almost all important policies.
Trump and the Republicans have exploited this in every way they could think of. In one of the most absurd publicity stunts perpetrated by any administration, Trump sent thousand of troops to the border. He also declared a national emergency because the Democrats wouldn’t fund his pointless border wall, even though they DID offer to pay for it.
Another talking point is that illegals are making American communities less safe. This has been debunked; all available data shows that illegal immigrants commit far less crimes than natural-born Americans. This is because they’re on their best behavior since any contact with the police could result in deportation. As an immigrant myself I can assure you that’s the reason. And, if you think about it, they wouldn’t fear deportation so much in one-party states like California if the Democrats were in favor of open borders, now would they?
Another talking point is that this supposed open borders policy is so illegals can vote Democrat. I guess if this policy was real, and not propaganda, that would make sense, but since there is no open border policy, I can’t imagine illegals coming out in overwhelming numbers to vote for the party of the Deporter in Chief. Anyways, there is scant evidence of any real movement towards registering illegals to vote at this time, but I wouldn’t put any type of fraudulent electoral shenanigans past the Democratic Party.