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Trump's Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric Resonating With Some Democrats

A video shared by former President Trump features horror movie music and footage of migrants supposedly entering the U.S. from countries including Cameroon, Afghanistan and China. Shots of men with tattoos and videos of violent crime are set against close-ups of people waving and wrapping themselves in U.S. flags.

“They’re coming by the thousands,” Trump says in the video, posted on his social media site. “We will secure our borders. And we will restore sovereignty.”

Trump has ramped up anti-immigrant rhetoric as he seeks the White House a third time, casting migrants as dangerous criminals “poisoning the blood” of America. Hitting the fault lines of race and national identity, his messaging relies on falsehoods, but it resonates with many of his core supporters going back a decade, to when “build the wall” chants rang out at his rallies, reports the Associated Press.

President Biden and his allies portray the situation as a policy dispute that Congress can fix and hit Republicans for backing away from a border security deal after facing criticism from Trump.

Iin a potentially worrying sign for Biden, Trump’s message appears to be resonating with key elements of the Democratic coalition that Biden needs to win over this November.

Roughly two-thirds of Americans disapprove of how Biden is handling border security, including about 4 in 10 Democrats, 55% of Black adults and 73% of Hispanic adults, according to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll last month.

A Pew Research Center poll found that 45% of Americans described the situation as a crisis, while another 32% said it was a major problem.

Vetress Boyce, a Chicago-based racial justice activist, was among those who expressed frustration with Biden’s immigration policies and the city’s approach as it tries to shelter newly arriving migrants. She argued Democrats should be focusing on economic investment in Black communities, not newcomers.

Immigration will be one of the central issues in November’s election, with both sides spending the next six months painting the other as wrong on border security.

The president’s reelection campaign has launched a $30 million ad campaign targeting Latino audiences in key swing states that includes a digital ad in English and Spanish highlighting Trump’s past description of Mexican immigrants as “criminals” and “rapists.”

Trump will campaign this week in Wisconsin and Michigan, where he is expected to tear into Biden on immigration. His campaign said his event in the Michigan city of Grand Rapids will focus on what it alleged was “Biden’s Border Bloodbath.”

Local news coverage of the issue has often been negative. Viewers have seen migrants blamed for everything from a string of gang-related New Jersey robberies to burglary rings targeting retail stores in suburban Philadelphia to measles cases in parts of Arizona and Illinois.


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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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