New AV Blog Post: Republican Midterm Message On “Border Security” is Heavy on Anti-Immigrant Politics, Devoid of Solutions
Washington, DC – In a new blog article for America’s Voice, Political Director Zachary Mueller writes that “Republicans are spending millions of dollars on political ads intentionally misleading the public so that the fentanyl crisis is mainly seen through the lens of their nativist agenda.” Mueller, who tracks Republican ads and lines of attack for the AV GOP Ad Tracker, details some of the recent attack ads from the GOP using the alleged ‘open borders’ policies of the Democrats and falsely linking the importation of deadly fentanyl to immigration and asylum policies. This gap between reality and what Republicans are saying presents an opportunity for Democrats to blunt GOP attacks, as well as an opportunity for the country to focus on actual strategies to interdict fentanyl.
If Republicans were actually concerned about Americans dying from drugs, they would go where the drugs are, not where they aren’t. 99% of all drugs are brought in through ports of entry by cars, trucks, boats, planes. Rather than meet that real problem head-on and increase inspections of every cargo shipment, the GOP prefers to focus on where illegal drug flow is low, but the political benefit is high: focusing on men, women, and children fleeing violence and seeking safe haven at our borders.
As we have pointed out numerous times, Biden’s border policies are, in reality, very far from the Republican characterization of them as ‘open borders.’ And the association of fentanyl importation with migrants and asylum seekers is a false one, but one that GOP Senate candidates like J.D. Vance in Ohio and Jim Lamon in Arizona – as well as Gov. Greg Abbott in Texas – have all adopted. Furthermore, most Republicans in Congress recently voted against the money that would allow for greater interdiction and seizures of fentanyl, which overwhelmingly comes smuggled in cargo at U.S. ports of entry, not on the bodies of those seeking asylum and safety.
Most House and Senate Republicans voted against the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the $1.2 trillion bipartisan bill that invests in technologies and infrastructure – including “$430 million to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for the construction and modernization of land ports of entry and equipment and fixtures for operations,” according to the National Immigration Forum. This money, which most Republicans opposed, can help purchase new screening technology, which as the Washington Post reported, is showing results in terms of Fentanyl seizures by analyzing the contents of trucks. However, only 5% of trucks entering the U.S. are being screened with the new scanner technology.
According to Mueller:
The GOP obsession with focusing on the wrong problem and the wrong solutions is costing thousands of lives, contributing to the flood of drugs, the continued growth of a flourishing, sophisticated network of cartels, but there is clearly a better answer: go where the drugs are, not where they aren’t.
The nativist, xenophobic, and coded messages of Republicans can be potent if left unchallenged, but because the reality of opioid and drug importation is so divorced from Republican rhetoric and “policy” proposals, it opens the door to forceful Democratic response.