Listen to recording of press call here.
Washington D.C. – On a press call held today, Rep. Greg Casar (D-TX) joined experts who track right-wing violence, extremism, and conspiracy theories to preview upcoming House Republican hearings in Judiciary and Oversight on border and immigration issues. As the speakers detailed, the hearings are likely to provide a platform to mainstream dangerous, once-fringe ideas that have a direct link to political violence. Several Members of Congress sitting on these House Committees have in the past amplified the deadly white nationalist “invasion” and “great replacement” conspiracy theories.
Rep. Greg Casar (D-TX-35), a member of the House Oversight Committee, said: “Right-wing members of Congress are openly embracing racist conspiracy theories, stoking fear, and spreading lies about immigrants – despite the very real and dangerous consequences their policies have. Thankfully, we have a new wave of progressive Democrats joining the Oversight Committee, who are ready to go toe-to-toe with these conspiracy theorists. Together, we’re ready to get to work fixing the humanitarian crisis, allowing folks to immigrate to our country in a humane, safe, orderly, and legal manner.”
Dr. Elizabeth Yates, Senior Researcher on Antisemitism at Human Rights First, said: “The anti-immigrant rhetoric we have come to expect from many lawmakers today represents merely the latest adaptations of white supremacist conspiracy theories. Whether direct or implicit, this rhetoric furthers the same discriminatory and antidemocratic narratives, and poses a threat to the safety of all our communities. Congressional hearings should not be a mechanism to further mainstream racist and anti-democratic ideology.”
Dr. Heidi Beirich, Co-founder and Chief Strategist, Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, said: “The “Great Replacement” is one of the most dangerous white supremacist conspiracy theories that exists today. This lie has inspired mass murders around the world, including last year’s shooting in Buffalo, and also influences discriminatory and inhumane immigration policies. It’s incredibly irresponsible and dangerous for politicians and right-wing media to give a platform to these racist and anti-immigrant ideas that have propelled disastrous immigration policies.”
Freddy Cruz, Anti Government Extremism Analyst at the Southern Poverty Law Center, said: “Fueled by debunked conspiracy theories, far-right extremist groups have engaged in vigilante operations to intercept and detain migrants near the border. Over the last few years, these private militia groups have peddled dehumanizing narratives about migrants to justify their vigilante activities in staunch opposition to state laws, which prohibit the formation of private militia organizations. Their activities, fueled by racist talking points, have jeopardized both the safety of migrants and federal agents in the region.”
Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director, America’s Voice (moderator), said: “Instead of using their majority to bring forth thoughtful ideas on how to address the complex problem of global migration and the root causes that force people to leave their home countries, the GOP is engaging in white nationalist rhetoric and political theater. The bottom line is that immigration doesn’t start or end at the border. It must be resolved in a comprehensive manner that requires responsible and thoughtful debate, a level headed solution-oriented conversation, and ultimately Congressional action.”
- Global Project Against Hate and Extremism’s backgrounder on the “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory
- America’s Voice new blog: “Debunking the GOP’s Fentanyl Narrative”
- America’s Voice January 2023 Memo: “Four Points to Keep in Mind as Republicans Tee Up Anti-Immigrant Hearings and Attacks”
- America’s Voice January 2023 Backgrounder: “GOP Threatens Public Safety with Push for DHS Secretary Impeachment Based on White Nationalist Conspiracy Theories”