Republican Closing Ads: Immigration

In the final days of the 2018 election, Republicans across the country are running TV ads about immigration that falsely accuse some Democrats of wanting “open borders,” plotting to “abolish ICE,” supporting “sanctuary cities” and more. The ads contain evocative images of tattooed gang members and “caravans” of Central Americans traveling through Mexico in search of asylum.

The Republicans are following the lead of President Donald Trump, who in recent days has labeled the Central American asylum seekers “an invasion” and ordered the U.S. military to guard the Southern border. He also has said he will sign an executive order ending birthright citizenship, although the legality of such a unilateral action has been challenged by constitutional scholars.

A database of TV ads maintained by Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group shows that 162 TV ads airing in the last seven days, since Oct. 27, contain “anti-immigration” messages. Here we look at some of those ads.

Arkansas: Tucker Not ‘Anti-ICE’

TV ads in Arkansas’ 2nd Congressional District falsely portray Democratic candidate Clarke Tucker as wanting to abolish the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Rep. French Hill, a two-term congressman, is airing a TV ad called “We Must Enforce the Law” that shows images of tattooed members of a transnational gang known as the Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, and warns that they are “infiltrating America.” (As we have written, the MS-13 gang has had a presence in the U.S. since the early 1980s, beginning in Southern California, and currently numbers about 10,000 — a figure the Department of Justice has been using since 2006.)

The announcer says, “MS-13, the most dangerous gang infiltrating America, but Washington liberals want to get rid of ICE, the police enforcing our immigration laws and protecting our border from MS-13.” Photos of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer appear on the screen as the announcer says “Washington liberals,” even though neither Pelosi nor Schumer support abolishing ICE.

By Eugene Kiely, D’Angelo Gore and Robert Farley for FACTCHECK.ORG
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