Fox News graphic saying "Migrant Home Invasion?"

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Right-wing media use a single TikTok to create a panic about migrants “invading your home”

Conservative media relentlessly fearmongered about migrant squatters “coming with a home invasion” and stealing “wealthy people’s homes”

Right-wing media are fearmongering about a supposed nationwide epidemic of migrants using squatters’ rights to steal Americans’ homes. The backbone of this theory isn’t the prevalence of widespread home repossession by migrants, but rather one man’s TikTok. 

  • Right-wing social media users exploited a TikTok video to fearmonger about squatters, and the panic spread to broader right-wing media

    • The original TikTok was posted on March 17. The TikTok creator, who identifies himself as an “artist” on his Instagram, has previously been attacked by right-wing media following controversial comments he made regarding the arrest of a migrant involved in a shooting in New York City, with right-wing media dubbing him a “migrant influencer.” The TikTok showed the user instructing viewers in Spanish how to expropriate a house if it's not inhabited. [TikTok, 3/17/24, accessed 3/22/24; New York Post, 2/24/24; Fox News, 2/25/24; HotAir, 2/25/24]
    • Later that day, right-wing Instagram account Cops4Freedom, which has previously posted negatively about migrants and has been involved in pro-Trump and anti-vaccine events in New York, reposted the TikTok. The account warned its audience: “Beware if you see this guy in your neighborhood.” [Instagram, 3/17/24, accessed 3/22/24, accessed 3/22/24, accessed 3/22/24]
    • Another TikTok account posted Cops4Freedom’s video, called the speaker an “illegal,” and read out a translation to his audience. [TikTok, 3/19/24]
    • Right-wing influencers on X (formerly known as Twitter) like Collin Rugg and Libs of TikTok, posted the original video with added translation, earning millions of views. Libs of TikTok’s video got over 8 million views, while Rugg’s video racked up over 5 million. [Twitter/X, 3/20/24, 3/20/24]
    • Conservative media continued to spread the story, with Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk boosting the anti-migrant TikTok on his radio show. Kirk told his audience, “You might go out to dinner, go see a movie and come back to a bunch of illegals sitting in your living room, and it will then become their home.” [Real America's Voice, The Charlie Kirk Show, 3/20/24]
    • Fox News picked up the story on Jesse Watters Primetime. Watters called the TikTokker the “Venezuelan welfare king” and claimed Biden is letting migrants “break into the country and then break into your bedroom.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 3/20/24]
  • Right-wing media are using this single TikTok to fearmonger about migrants stealing houses

    • On Outnumbered, Watters warned that migrants are “coming with guns, they’re coming with the home invasion” and suggested using “tear gas canisters” or “a panther” to remove squatters from homes. Co-host Emily Compagno commented that squatting is an “epidemic” that will be worsened by “the millions streaming across the southern border.” [Fox News, Outnumbered, 3/21/24
    • Fox News anchor Sandra Smith claimed that “migrant crime [is] on the rise in this country,” adding, “You might have to worry about losing your home.” Smith later claimed that a lot of viewers had been texting her that “they worry about their primary residence or their vacation home.” [Fox News, America Reports, 3/21/24]
    • Fox News host Laura Ingraham said that if “illegal aliens already feel justified walking right into our country” then “why should we be surprised if they settle into our homes too.” Ingraham then commented that the TikTok sounded like “something from the Babylon Bee,” a conservative news parody site. [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 3/21/24]
    • Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum brought up the TikTok in an interview with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), saying, “If you’re out of your house for 30 days, on the 31st day, someone can literally invade your home.” MacCallum cited the man’s claim that he knows people who have lost seven houses to squatters without confirming the story herself. [Fox News, The Story with Martha MacCallum, 3/21/24]
    • The Five co-host Greg Gutfeld discussed the video while an on-screen chyron read “SQUATTER INVASION! Illegal immigrants told to ‘invade’ American homes.” During the segment, Gutfeld claimed that “immigration gangs” are breaking into “wealthy people’s homes.” [Fox News, The Five, 3/21/24]
    • Fox & Friends fearmongered about migrants choosing to “invade” abandoned houses because of the viral TikTok video. Co-host Brian Kilmeade said the TikTokker is correct about U.S. squatting laws, saying, “We have illegal aliens sneaking in and telling us how to squat in America and make the homeowners the criminals when they change the locks. This guy’s 100% right.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/21/24
    • The New York Post published an article titled “TikTokker tells illegal immigrants how to ‘invade’ American homes and invoke squatter’s rights.” The Post referred to squatting as “a major problem in recent years across the US, and especially in Democrat-led cities” and cited TikTok commenters calling for the TikTokker to be arrested. [New York Post, 3/21/24]
    • The Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft published an article titled “Biden’s America: Venezuelan Tik-Tok Influencer Coaches Illegal Aliens on How to Invade American Homes and Invoke Squatter’s Rights.” [The Gateway Pundit, 3/21/24]
    • White nationalist Keith Woods posted on X, “Immigrant TikToker with over 300k followers advising illegal immigrants on how to take over homes of Americans via squatter's rights laws. He says his friends have already taken over 7 homes.” [Twitter/X, 3/20/24; Media Matters, 2/13/24]
    • Fox News host Sean Hannity posted on X, “SQUATTER INSANITY! TikTok Vid Goes Viral for Telling Illegal Migrants How to Claim 'Squatter's Rights' [WATCH].” [Twitter/X, 3/21/24]