Texas Senator Ted Cruz has been among the loudest — and worst — of anti-immigrant demagogues. He’s more than suggested the Biden administration is to blame for smuggling incidents, just this month tweeting that “[t]he cartel human trafficking business is exploding.” Further inflammatory remarks have been false claims that “we simply have open borders,” that the Biden administration gives new migrants “benefits,” and that it will “let them stay.”
The only person claiming any of that is Ted Cruz, and while we might know that he’s full of it, desperate migrants don’t, and he’s further endangering their lives by creating a market where criminal cartels sell his false hope that the southern border is wide open, when it isn’t.
But Ted Cruz and other Republicans don’t do this craven work alone. Breitbart News – a political ally to Cruz — has helped advertise the false belief that the border is open. In a damning report this week from The Dallas Morning News, Breitbart was specifically cited by a Venezuelan migrant who’d arrived at the southern border to ask for asylum. Jesus Romero said he’d seen the false information on popular messaging tool WhatsApp.
“Behind him, dozens of people absorbed the same false information,” the report said. It not only spread on WhatsApp, but also on Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook.
Of course, you won’t see Cruz — or any other Republican for that matter — castigating right-wing outlets. Not only does Cruz fail to tell Breitbart to quit it, he gives them “exclusive” interviews, and they’ve printed op-eds written in his name. But if Breitbart is bad (it is), Fox News is worse, promoting “open border” claims more than 3,000 times since 2020. Cruz has also failed to push back on that, and has gone even further, by publicly groveling to the outlet’s leading peddler of white supremacist conspiracy theory.
During a Senate hearing last year, Cruz called the Jan. 6 insurrection a “violent terrorist attack.” Even a broken clock, etc. But that wording infuriated Tucker Carlson, who has argued that “great replacement” conspiracy theory is real. Just hours after making his Senate remarks, Cruz appeared on Tucker’s program with his tail between his legs, claiming that his speech the day before was “sloppy” and “frankly dumb.” But that wasn’t good enough for the conspiracy theory pusher.
“Carlson continued to berate Cruz: ‘I do not believe that you used that accidentally,’” The Wrap noted at the time. Having received his orders from his bosses at Fox News, Cruz has fallen in line.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott is another Republican who has failed to push back against Fox News. In one press release from this past January, he’d claimed that his discriminatory, ineffective, and wildly expensive Operation Lone Star stunt had disrupted “cartel activity along Biden’s open border.” But once again, it’s not the Biden administration that’s pushed this “open border” nonsense thousands of times, it’s Fox News.
While Abbott never has any issue criticizing the Biden administration, you won’t see that same fire directed at Fox News. In fact, all signs point to a special relationship with the outlet. Recall that when Abbott first launched his stunt busing vulnerable migrants to Washington, D.C., the vehicle arrived in front of a building housing a number of media outlets — including Fox News. It was not lost on observers that Fox News already had a report on the busing all set for publishing. What a coincidence.
Republicans like Ted Cruz and Greg Abbott want chaos, with no serious proposals of their own to actually address our nation’s outdated immigration system. Lest anyone think its individual legislators pushing the rhetoric, it’s also been coming from the official accounts of GOP House committees. Combined with lies from the right-wing media ecosystem, it’s no wonder why despairing migrants continue to believe the border is open, and find themselves lured to continued suffering as criminal cartels get rich and Republicans seek political gain despite clear evidence that their xenophobic rhetoric was not a winner in previous election cycles.
The Dallas Morning News reported that the Venezuelan they interviewed, Romero, didn’t know if Breitbart was “a credible source or not.” The Dallas Morning News reported that following their interview, “he and a small group of about eight people walked across the muddy, shallow Rio Grande and turned themselves in. Their fate was unknown.”