tags: , , , , Press Releases

Orlando MAGA Protest Sparked By False Viral Video Shows GOP’s 2022 Immigration Strategy: Misinformation, Fearmongering, and Xenophobia

Share This:

An Analysis of Just Last Week’s Anti-Immigrant Messages, Statements, and Ads Provides a Road Map of What We Should Expect from the GOP Ahead of Midterms

Washington, DC – According to their own reporting on Monday, the local Fox station in Orlando “was inundated with calls and emails to investigate a viral video spreading online.” The video showed a group of Hispanic men entering a local hotel, but to the local Make America Great Again crowd, including a confederate flag, Proud Boys and Republican congressional candidate Laura Loomer, the video appeared to be confirmation of the latest conspiracy theory animating the Republican party’s anti-immigrant zealots. The conspiracy theory holds that President Biden is secretly flying untold numbers of “illegal immigrants” at government expense to infiltrate local communities.

Fox 35 Orlando investigated the men at the hotel in the video and they turned out to be workers with approved H2-A temporary visas who had been contracted legally by a local nursery. The facts did not stop dozens of people from holding a protest outside the hotel.

This incident, which thankfully did not turn violent, is an example of the kind of xenophobia-drenched misinformation and conspiracy theories Republican candidates and party leadership are pushing as election season gets under way.

In a recap of Republicans’ most recent anti-immigrant messages, statements, and ads, America’s Voice finds that last week alone encapsulates what we can expect over the next ten months: anti-immigrant lies and distortions deployed as key elements of Republicans’ deliberate exploitation of racial resentment to gain electoral advantage.  

Find America’s Voice recap of last week’s typical but particularly vivid GOP barrage of anti-immigrant ads and statements available here with key excerpts below. 

“If you were just listening to Republicans last week, you may believe that Joe Biden is engaged in a secret plot to remake the country by importing non-white migrants by the millions to locations all across the country. They attack the Biden administration for being lax on immigration even as they cite a record number of arrests, detentions, and expulsions. For those few who are not immediately detained or expelled, the GOP is working overtime to scare constituents into believing that there is a secret liberal plot led by President Biden involving migrants in the U.S. with asylum cases pending –  including children in the care of the U.S. government –  who are being transported into local communities in order to tip the political balance of local elections or somehow increase crime rates.

The most basic fact check exposes these nativist conspiracy theories as fiction. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so dangerous. This xenophobic distortion is a key talking point for Republican leadership, their top cable news broadcasts, and throughout the rank and file GOP, as exemplified last week. Combining a misleading use of statistics, out-of-context video clips, and cynical nativist politics, Republicans crafted this distorted reality as they look to make strategic xenophobia a cornerstone of their midterm message.

… While some in the media, like [Washington Post reporter Phillip] Bump, occasionally challenge the Republican narrative with basic facts, often their misinformation around immigration passes as reality. So it’s worth examining Republicans’ leading immigration narratives and exposing them to the simple facts. And one need only look at what the GOP said last week to get the picture.”

According to Zachary Mueller, Senior Political Manager of America’s Voice:

It is a relief that no one was attacked in the Florida hotel incident promoted by the Republican candidate. But this type of manufactured outrage egged on by the Republican Party is a witch’s brew that could bubble over into actual attacks. And it was totally based on misinformation that played off of a racist conspiracy theory promoted by Republicans and the right wing media.

The messages we saw in just the last week were a vivid reminder that Republicans don’t care about facts or offer solutions. They will demagogue, frighten and distract as a key part of their 2022 political agenda. Over the next ten months, we should expect more of the same. The news media should point out the lies and overall lack of facts, or at least not regurgitate their rhetoric. Some Republicans in key battleground districts and competitive states will try to distance themselves from the racist rhetoric the mainstream of the GOP have adopted on immigrants and immigration. But, when the leaders of the Republican Party, their House and Senate political committees, and their superPACS are pushing these ugly messages, they all own it, and Democrats should make sure to call out every Republican who does not forcefully push back.

Also check out ongoing examples of Republicans’ anti-immigrant ads at the America’s Voice GOP Ad Tracker: http://gopadtracker.com/