Washington, DC – While details are still emerging, it appears that both violent incidents in Texas this week may be tied to hate-fueled domestic extremism. Investigators are exploring the potential white supremacist and neo-Nazi views of the mall shooter in Allen, TX, while the Washington Post reports one of the victims of the SUV outside the migrant shelter in Brownsville, TX recalled the driver yelling: “You’re invading my property!”
Unfortunately, these events do not occur in isolation. The dehumanizing, white nationalist, and antisemitic conspiracy theories about “replacement” and a so-called migrant “invasion” are no longer confined to dark, hate-filled corners of society, but are a regular part of elected Republicans’ messaging. It’s coming from the top elected leaders in Texas, like Governor Greg Abbott and Senator Ted Cruz, as well as House leadership like Elise Stefanik. When Abbott, Cruz, Stefanik, and others describe migrants in the militaristic language of an “invasion,” they actively and knowingly put a target on the backs of migrants and the organizations that support them. Their racist lies actively threaten public safety.
- America’s Voice messaging project has found nearly 500 examples of elected Republicans amplifying the great replacement conspiracy theory since the attack in Buffalo, New York, that took place one year ago (May 14, 2022). In that mass murderer’s racist screed, he talked about a so-called “invasion” ten times.
- In six Congressional hearings since the GOP took control of the House majority about the border and immigration, Republican members have used the dais to peddle the great replacement conspiracy theory. They have also invited eight witnesses to testify at their border hearings that had previously promoted the racist fiction. And when directly asked to denounce the great replacement conspiracy theory by Ranking Member Jamie Raskin (D-MD), all 26 members of the House Oversight pointedly refused. All of this was part of the lead-up to the introduction of their anti-immigrant H.R. 2, which will be debated on the floor of the House later this week.
Texas Democratic State Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa, a Brownsville native, stated of the deaths outside the migrant shelter:
“While the incident is still under investigation, there is no doubt that our state’s leaders are painting a target on migrants’ backs. Political actors — who just want to score points with the absolute worst fringes of society — are ginning people up and getting them to hate their fellow brothers and sisters, and turning human being against human being … My words will fall on deaf ears, but with all my heart, I hope that Republicans take this moment and use it for even the slightest bit of introspection. Using words like ‘invasion’ may get you retweets and Fox News hits — but it’s also causing real-life carnage. Please, for the love of God, stop this hatemongering.”
According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director at America’s Voice:
“While we await further details on both horrific incidents in Texas and as we embark on a landmark week on immigration policy, we ask everyone to first and foremost reflect on the humanity and real lives affected by violence and policies at our southern border.
In a string of deadly incidents across the U.S. in recent years, we have seen the horrific downstream consequences of what happens when a group of people are consistently demonized and dehumanized. We have repeatedly warned that the dehumanizing rhetoric directed at migrants puts a target on the backs of this vulnerable population. Early reports offer the troubling possibility that Allen and Brownsville will join El Paso, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and Charlottesville as locations forever linked to hate-filled violence.
Hateful conspiracy theories and dehumanizing rhetoric used to be limited to the fringes of the internet. Now, Republican elected officials and right wing media have helped to mainstream and platform these conspiracies – even after the many incidents of violence linked to dehumanizing hate.
Nor are we the only ones warning of these deadly consequences. DHS has issued repeated memos, including one in December of last year, citing threats to migrants and border infrastructure. DHS warned in particular about the threats in the context of the end of Title 42. There is an urgent need for those with the power and megaphones to immediately cease their dehumanizing rhetoric and vocally denounce racist and antisemitic conspiracies about an invasion and replacement.”
See this Twitter thread from FWD.us highlighting the names and links to support local service providers in the Brownsville border region providing direct support.