Reprinted with permission from American Independent
Congressional Republicans have adopted the term "border crisis" to attack immigration policies of the Biden administration, echoing the rhetoric of a right-wing anti-immigrant hate group.
In a January 21 press release, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which goes by the acronym FAIR, accused President Joe Biden of "inducing an immigration and border crisis" and said of his moves to undo Trump's anti-immigrant policies, "On his first half-day in office, President Biden signed a series of executive orders that are certain to create a new rush to the border and potentially violate an entire body of federal statutes by refusing to enforce any immigration laws."
Within days of the release, Republicans began to echo the same language in their messages on social media.
Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn was the first to use it, accusing Biden of "fueling the border crisis" in a February post. Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas referred to a "Biden Border Crisis" a month later, while Sen. John Cornyn of Texas quoted multiple headlines referring to a "border crisis."
Among House Republicans, Rep. Debbie Lesko of Arizona was the first to echo FAIR with a poston Feb. 4 touting the Border Crisis Prevention Act that she introduced in the chamber the day before.
Thirty-six posts made by House Republicans used the same terminology in February and March. Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas accused the Biden administration of creating a "new border crisis"; Rep. Darrell Issa of California referred to a "Biden Border Crisis"; while Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy chimed in with the "border crisis" language on March 2.
The call to repeat the "border crisis" language also appeared in a memo from the House Republican Study Committee that urged party members to use the term and blame it on President Biden. The committee's memo was leaked to the conservative Fox News, which has for years promoted anti-immigrant content.
The Biden administration has pushed back on the claim that there is a crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said that the situation at the border is not a crisis but a "challenge." Mayorkas noted that the Biden administration had inherited an immigration system "gutted" by the Trump team.
"To put it succinctly, the prior administration dismantled our nation's immigration system in its entirety," Mayorkas told reporters on March 1. "We did not have the personnel, policies, procedures or training to administer those laws. Quite frankly, the entire system was gutted."
The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated FAIR as a hate group. It notes, "FAIR leaders have ties to white supremacist groups and eugenicists and have made many racist statements" to advance the group's anti-immigrant positions.
FAIR founder and board member John Tanton lamented in 1986 that due to immigration, "whites see their power and control over their lives declining." Tanton also argued that "for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority."
Between 1985 and 1994, FAIR received about $1.2 million in grants from the pro-eugenics Pioneer Fund. The fund was founded in 1937 by associates of the Nazi regime who sought to pursue "race betterment" for whites in America.
FAIR has had ties to Republican figures like former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who worked with the organization's legal arm, and as an official in the Trump administration on a failed attempt to prove voter fraud in the 2016 presidential election.
Now, FAIR and Republicans are in sync once again, with both focused on attacking the Biden administration's immigration policies.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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