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When Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee Members Amplified White Nationalist Conspiracy Theories

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Republican Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have amplified white nationalist great replacement conspiracy theory directly tied to multiple domestic terrorist attacks that have claimed the lives of dozens of Americans over the last several years.

  • Ranking Member Lindsey Graham, South Carolina: On July 19, 2021, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), appeared on The Ingraham Angle employing the white nationalist rhetoric claiming, “Joe Biden wants to put  amnesty in the Democrat infrastructure bill that will lead to an invasion.”
  • Ted Cruz, Texas: Just days after the terrorist attack in Buffalo, New York, left 10 Americans dead, Sen. Ted Cruz repeatedly echoed the white nationalist conspiracies as the shooter. In the lead of a May 18, 2022, article in the Houston Chronicle, Benjamin Wermund writes, “US. Sen. Ted Cruz is doubling down on “invasion” rhetoric this week that is similar to that espoused by the man accused of killing 10 people in a Buffalo grocery store on Saturday.” 
  • Josh Hawley, Missouri: On October 28, 2022, Sen. Josh Hawley sent out a fundraising email that read, “For all the destruction that has come with the border invasion, its EXACTLY what Joe Biden wants.”

Why this matters:


This invasion and replacement conspiracy has repeatedly been the motivating inspiration for repeated acts of political violence and domestic terrorism. It was chanted in the streets of Charlottesville in 2017, posted online before a man murdered 11 in Pittsburgh in 2018, shared in racist screeds before the murder in Poway and the murder of 23 in El Paso in 2019, believed by those who attacked the Capitol in 2021 and copied by the gunman who killed ten people in Buffalo in May in 2022.  Dr. Heidi Beirich, the co-founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, draws a direct connection between the rhetoric and the violence, saying, “When migrants are described as invaders, that leads to violence,” she said. “Because how else does one stop an invasion?”   

While many of the Republicans, including those in the Senate Judiciary Committee, have adopted rhetoric and versions of the great replacement conspiracy theory that are slightly less explicitly racist and anti-Semitic, their rhetoric furthers the same sort of dehumanization that paints non-white migrants as an existential threat.

Meanwhile, the FBI, Attorney General, and Secretary of Homeland Security have all testified that the threat from violent domestic extremists is a leading terrorist concern. In November 2022 and again in December 2022, DHS issued memos warning about threats to migrants and infrastructure at the southern border in response to anti-immigrant-related concerns. 

Outlined below is a running list of examples of Senate Judiciary Committee Members engaging in this dangerous rhetoric. 

Ranking Member Lindsey Graham, South Carolina 

  • 6/21/21 – Twitter:”The southern border is in complete chaos, and the Biden Administration is not lifting a finger to stop what is going to become an invasion of illegal immigrants.”
  • 7/20/22 – Twitter: “If the mayors of New York and Washington DC think it’s bad, imagine living in a border state which is Ground Zero of the illegal immigration invasion!”
  • 10/20/21 – Twitter: “The policy changes by the Biden Administration have led to this invasion with no end in sight. Unless we go back to the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy of President Trump, migrants will continue to come by the hundreds of thousands.”
  • 8/3/22 – Press Statement: “The refusal to fix our broken asylum system, the reimplementation of catch and release, the abandonment of Remain in Mexico, and other policy choices by the Biden Administration have acted as pull factors which directly led to a virtual invasion by illegal immigrants. It is only a matter of time until terrorists and other transnational criminal organizations take full advantage of these vulnerabilities.
  • 7/19/21  – The Ingraham Angle​​: “Joe Biden wants to put  amnesty in the Democrat infrastructure bill that will lead to an invasion.”
  • 5/19/19 – Press Statement: “We must change the underlying broken laws to stop what I think is an invasion at our southern border,” said Graham.  “We need to ask — who is in control here?  Us or the smugglers?  I hope Democrats will work with us to find a bipartisan solution.  This isn’t a hoax or a manufactured crisis.  It is real and serious.  Today’s introduction begins the debate on a fix.”
  • 9/24/21 – Facebook Ad: “The Biden Administration has facilitated an invasion of illegal immigrants.”
  • 7/21/21 – Fox News: “Amnesty in the Democrat infrastructure bill that will lead to an invasion.”
  • 10/22/18 – Twitter: “President @realDonaldTrump
  •  is right to put pressure on countries to stop the migrant caravans before they even start. He’s also right to request Mexico ensure they never reach the US border. Those nations who disrespect American sovereignty should and will pay a heavy price.”
  • 6/21/13 – Twitter: “When people in South Carolina say ‘Secure the Border’ I get it. Corker-Hoeven is border surge & designed to help us regain over sovereignty.”

Chuck Grassley, Iowa

  • 11/1/21 – Twitter: “Welcome 2 Pres Biden’s America where 10,000 pounds of fentanyl hv been seized by Customs & Border patrol so far this fiscal yr which is enough to kill over 2 billion ppl or more than 1/4 of the world’s population”
  • 8/4/21 – Twitter: “Mexican cartels are pouring record amounts of hard drugs into USA In 2020 over 93,000 Americans died from drug overdoses That’s almost the entire population of Davenport The primary driver of this surge in overdose deaths is fentanyl coming in from Mexico SECURE THE BORDER”
  • 8/3/21 – Twitter: “As a result of the Biden Administration’s irresponsible immigration policies CBP has encountered over 1.1 million illegal immigrants at the southern border during this fiscal yr That’s 5 times larger than the population of Des Moines”
  • 6/30/21 – Twitter: “Border Crisis= Fentanyl Crisis So far in FY21 Customs &Border Patrol seized enough deadly fentanyl & analogues at southern border to kill over half of US population Biden admin+ Congress must secure border &permanently ban fentanyl & deadly knockoffs”
  • 10/23/18 – RadioIowa: “I hope I made myself clear that I don’t consider civilians from other countries being a military force invading us, but they’re surely violating our laws,” Grassley says. “We’ve got a right to protect our borders.”
  • 10/22/18 – Twitter: “PresTrump as commander in chief is right to defend country/borders & stop the attack on natl sovereignty from the 7000+ migrant caravan heading to USA. Not fair to legal immigrants going through proper LEGAL process We need to help Trump admin secure border+close immig loopholes.”
  • 9/14/21 – Facebook: “Sign the petition to STOP Biden from housing ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS in your neighborhood!”
  • 6/15/21 – Twitter: “Total border encounters in the last eight months totals 929,868 – more than four times the population of Des Moines, Iowa. https://t.co/C8g0XW6Yb7
  • 1/3/23 – Twitter: “.@POTUS is putting the sovereignty of the United States of America in peril by refusing to enforce our nation’s immigration laws and failing to secure the border. https://t.co/rYztMppZSV”
  • 6/21/21 – Twitter: “Blanket amnesty and open borders are not sensible or sustainable for our sovereignty and national security.”
  • 8/25/18 – Twitter: “The protection of American citizens and the sovereignty of the United States of America depends on effective, enforceable and accountable border security.” – @ChuckGrassley #oversight

Mike Lee, Utah

  • 8/19/21 – Twitter: “@SenRonJohnson and I will be submitting a detailed comment to Biden’s proposed open border regulation. It is shocking that any President would violate his oath of office and threaten U.S. sovereignty in this manner. Biden’s reckless action must be stopped.”

Ted Cruz, Texas

  • 5/17/22 – Twitter Over 2 million illegal aliens streamed across the border last year. This is an invasion we’re seeing because Joe Biden refuses to enforce the law!
  • 8/6/21 – Twitter: “If CNN really gave a damn about COVID, they’d come down to McAllen & see the THOUSANDS of illegal immigrants with COVID being released by the Biden admin without a care in the world into Texas cities & towns. There’s an invasion going on at the southern border but CNN is silent.”
  • 7/1/19 – Twitter: “Stunning. In the past year, CBP has apprehended over 264,000 people here illegally just in the Rio Grande Valley Sector. That’s MORE THAN DOUBLE the entire population of McAllen. In ONE YEAR. This is a crisis & Congress needs to close the loopholes NOW. #EndDemObstruction”
  • 1/5/16 – TV Ad titled: Invasion “the mainstream media covers immigration, it doesn’t often see it as an economic issue…it would be very very different if a bunch of lawyers of bankers were crossing the Rio Grande…we will triple the Border Patrol, we will build a wall”
  • 4/2/21 – USA Today: “illegals arrive at the Border clean and refreshed after traveling 1,500 miles on foot…Why don’t they ever carry food or blankets? How do they charge their cell phones? Almost makes one think the Alien Invasion is orchestrated.” 
  • 5/16/22 – Radio Mark Levin Show: “234,000 illegal immigrants crossed…highest rate in 60 years, it is an invasion”
  • 9/20/22 – Southeast Texas Record: At the Texas Youth Summit, “It is a crisis, but it’s an even greater crisis in the rest of the country and especially Texas that is bearing the brunt of this massive invasion and that is seeing the human tragedy” 
  • 9/22/21 – C-Span: “ They were packed under the bridge because the border patrol lack capacity…to put that in perspective the city of Del Rio has a population of 35,000 people. Nearly half the population of Del Rio was under the bridge.”
  • 8/27/21 – Press Release: “After a year in which we had the lowest rate of illegal migration in over four decades, by the end of the year this administration will have orchestrated the illegal entry of as many as 2.3 million illegal aliens-the equivalent of the entire population of Houston, America’s 4th largest city.”
  • 10/6/21 – Press Conference: “To put that in perspective, the population of McAllen is about 141,000. 5% of the city of McAllen consists today of illegal immigrants with COVID that Joe Biden released this year. It is a crisis. It is dangerous.”
  • 6/18/21 – Fox News: “We’re seeing an assault on our sovereignty with the border not being defended. And today, my remarks are really a call for American revival…There are angry forces on the left that want to tear down all of the pillars of American democracy. And we’ve got to answer the call, and we’ve got to stand up and defend this great nation.”

Josh Hawley, Missouri

  • 10/28/22 – Fundraising email: “For all the destruction that has come with the border invasion, its EXACTLY what Joe Biden wants.”  
  • 12/16/22 – Fox News: “Of course, our border is wide open…more than five million illegal aliens have entered our country. That’s like adding the entire population of the state of Colorado to our country.”

Tom Cotton, Arkansas

  • 9/16/22 – FoxNews, “Joe Biden has presided over a slow-motion invasion of our country since he took office
  • 9/16/22 – Twitter: “Biden has presided over an invasion of our country. But until a few days ago, the liberal media couldn’t care less about MILLIONS of illegal border crossings.”
  • 12/16/22 – Fox News, “Since Joe Biden took office, more than 5 million illegal aliens have entered our country, that is like adding the entire state of Colorado.”
  • 1/20/22 – Fox News, “Democrats — to include Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and others — do seem to care more about Ukraine’s border than our southern border at a time when we had 2 million illegal immigrants cross our border under Joe Biden’s tenure in office,” Cotton said. “That’s like adding the entire population of Nebraska to this country.”
  • 1/26/22 – Fox News: “I think what the Department of Homeland Security has done to undermine American sovereignty, to open up our borders to undercut wages and jobs for American workers is probably the most egregious…and they’re open about it. [DHS]”
  • 4/7/22 – Twitter: “The coming surge of illegal immigration is expected to reach 18,000 *every day*. That’s like adding the population of Atlanta every single month. There is no precedent for this lawlessness.”
  • 2/15/23 – Twitter: “It’s shameful that the Biden Administration is lobbying for allowing illegal immigrants to vote in Washington, D.C. It’s a direct attack on our sovereignty.”
  • 12/9/21 – Twitter: “Allowing non-citizens—including illegal immigrants—to vote in our elections is an attack on our sovereignty. New York City’s voting law is an insult to every American citizen.”
  • 1/26/22 – Twitter: “Across many issues, Joe Biden has damaged America. But what his Department of Homeland Security is doing to undermine American sovereignty, open our borders, and undercut wages for Americans is the most egregious. And they’re proud of it.”
  • 10/8/21 – Twitter: “Many of Joe Biden’s problems are caused by his incompetence. But not the border crisis. This attack on our fundamental sovereignty is by design.”
  • 10/28/21 – Twitter: “The Biden Administration wants you to give $1 million to illegal immigrant families who broke the law. This is beyond open borders. It’s an assault on American sovereignty.”
  • 1/31/22 – Twitter: “To the courageous border patrol agents fighting back: we stand with you. Help is on the way. When Republicans take power, we’re going to hold your corrupt leadership accountable for what they’re doing to our sovereignty.”
  • 9/12/19 – Twitter: “This Supreme Court order is a huge victory for rule of law & our sovereignty, a huge defeat for open borders, asylum fraud, & Obama judges. Their campaign against immigration enforcement highlights the need for my new bill to stop nationwide injunctions.”
  • 10/4/22 – Fundraising email: “Drug cartels and traffickers exploit the crisis every day, invading our country with toxic fentanyl…Today, Darin is fighting with me every day to secure the border, wage war on cartels and keep Americans safe.”

John Kennedy, Louisiana

  • 8/20/21: Facebook Ad: “We’ve got to stop the border invasion we’re seeing under President Biden. Donate before midnight to help protect America!”
  • 10/31/22: Fundraising email: “We can’t allow the Left to remain silent about the rot that eats at America’s great cities with crippling price increases, crime, lagging schools, deadly drug use, homelessness, and an invasion of illegal immigrants.”
  • 3/17/23 – Twitter: “Since Pres. Biden stopped protecting the U.S. border, there have been more than 4.9M illegal crossings into our sovereign country.   That’s more than the population of Louisiana. Imagine an entire state trying to sneak into another country & its president letting it happen.”
  • 3/24/23 – Press Release: “It is becoming harder and harder not to conclude that the border crisis intentional. . . . None of the president’s positions on this make any sense to me, unless I view it from the perspective of, well, maybe he wants this to happen.”

Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee

  • 10/30/18: – During her 2018 campaign, Blackburn wrote an oped for the Tennessean titled, Migrant caravan is an invading force 
  • 11/5/18 – Facebook Ad: “There is a right & wrong way to come to our country & the illegal alien mob marching on our border is an invading force that must be stopped. My opponent has doubled down on his belief that there is no threat & thinks the wall is “political theater.” On November 6th, the choice is clear.”
  • 10/31/18 – Facebook Ad: “America is a nation of immigrants, and we embrace legal immigration. Everyone knows there is a right way and wrong way to come to the United States. The invading force approaching our southern border is seeking to enter the country the wrong”
  • 10/5/22 – Twitter: “An illegal alien allegedly tried to overtake and disarm a border patrol agent on our southern border yesterday. This crisis has grown into an invasion and should serve as a wake-up call to Joe Biden and the rest of his administration.”
  • 4/18/18 – Twitter: “Americans want security. Lawless sanctuary cities make no sense for a sovereign nation. We need to build that wall, end chain migration, end the visa lottery system, and cut off funds to sanctuary cities. And remember, no amnesty.”
  • 1/24/23 – Twitter: “In December, there were more encounters at the southern border than the population of Knoxville or Chattanooga, Tennessee. Biden’s border crisis worsens month after month, year after year.”
  • 5/10/22 – Twitter: “The Biden administration expects around 18,000 illegal immigrants crossing the southern border per day when TItle 42 is dropped. Nearly 92% of the towns in Chuck Schumer’s state of New York have a population of 18,000 people or less.”
  • 11/1/18 – Twitter: “When you have a mob of foreign nationals marching behind a foreign flag – that’s an invasion. If they want to come here, they need to abide by the rule of law and do it the right way.”
  • 1/23/23 – C-Span: “there were more than 250,000 which is the highest number of encounters at the southern border…that is more than the population of Knoxville, Tennessee. More than the population of Chattanooga, TN”