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False GOP Narrative In Midterm Ad Links Fentanyl, Immigration

A drug needle goes into a person’s arm; an adult and child walk through a graveyard; footage of migrants walking along a sandy stretch of a border wall, in Yuma, Az., streams while ominous music plays in the background of a video. It is a 40-second political ad in support of Blake Masters, the Republican candidate for Senate in Arizona, who is running against Mark Kelly, the incumbent Democrat. The ad connects fatal overdoses of fentanyl and methamphetamines to a spike in illegal migration at the southwestern border. It is one of more than 400 political ads tying immigration to drugs this election cycle, according to America’s Voice, a pro-immigration advocacy group, reports the New York Times. It is part of a false GOP narrative that connects fatal overdoes of fentanyl to a spike in illegal migration and presents Republican immigration hard-line immigration policies as an answer to crime and the drug epidemic.


Most of the fentanyl comes into the U.S. through official ports of entry on the southwestern border, hidden in legitimate commerce. The false narrative, which resonates with voters, is just one example of how toxic the issue of immigration has become. Republicans have stepped up attacks against President Biden as weak and ineffective on immigration, making it even more difficult for the Biden administration to secure any meaningful immigration reform after the midterm elections, especially if Republicans control at least one legislative chamber. Even if Republicans win control in Congress and want to advance their immigration policies, particularly on border security, they will have to find some compromise with Democrats to overcome the 60-vote filibuster threshold in the Senate, something that has been elusive for years, regardless of party control.

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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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