Republicans Exploit Israel Attack to Increase Concerns About U.S.-Mexico Border
Republicans in the US have been linking the Hamas terror attack on Israel with the nation’s southern border, suggesting that America could face a similar threat due to its open borders. Despite Homeland Security officials asserting no credible Hamas threat to the US and immigration experts explaining screening processes, Republicans have consistently used border fortification as a political tool, often exaggerating facts and tapping into xenophobic fears. The southern border remains a powerful political symbol, used widely in campaigns to stoke fears about terrorism, economic competition, and the social consequences of immigration.
Republicans Attribute Israel’s Tragedy to U.S. Border Issues
In the wake of a devastating terror attack on Israel, Republicans across America are turning the spotlight onto the nation’s southern border – a long-standing symbol in political rhetoric. Issues of crime, the opioid crisis, election integrity, and now an international terror attack are being linked to the border issue.
Georgia’s Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene stated on Fox News that the tragedy in Israel could happen in America due to our country being “invaded” by millions from various countries. Former UN ambassador Nikki Haley echoed similar sentiments, suggesting the unchecked border could lead to another 9/11 scenario.
Trump joined the discourse, suggesting terrorists that attacked Israel are entering the U.S. via its “totally open border”. The potency of this rhetoric is underscored by the unity within the conservative party, despite their deep divisions.
An NBC News poll suggests that voters trust Republicans over Democrats when it comes to handling crime and immigration. Republican strategist Alex Conant believes this could be particularly effective now, amid crises like the record numbers of migrants and the fight against fentanyl.
Although Homeland Security found no threat to the U.S. linked to Hamas, Republicans are drawing a direct line between border issues and national security. Immigration experts agree that while the government can screen those who turn themselves in, they cannot screen those who enter undetected.
Experts argue that political rhetoric around border enforcement measures is largely not based on data. However, prejudices are a significant factor in these discussions, according to Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, a government professor at George Mason University.
Despite concerns, experts suggest the threat of a terror attack launched from the southern border is unlikely. If Mideast terror organizations planned an attack, the northern border could be more vulnerable.
Fears about terrorism continue to be stoked by politicians, as Trump vows to reinstitute the travel ban from Muslim-majority countries. Such discourse fuels xenophobia and fear and may even contribute to violence. In recent years, two white supremacist shooting suspects cited fears of an “invasion” in their crimes.
Experts warn that unchecked rhetoric could have dangerous implications, as evidence with a recent stabbing incident in suburban Chicago tied to the suspect’s views on conservative radio discussions about overseas conflicts.
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