Leading up to the expiration of Title 42 on May 11, a Trump-era immigration policy that allowed border agents to turn migrants away at the border to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Spanish-language right-wing media fearmongered about “a massive invasion” of immigrants and worked to discredit the Biden administration's contested replacement policies — making claims that Biden “turned a blind eye” to the supposed crisis or that Democrats have a “long-term plan” to open the border and “change the face” of the electorate.
In January 2022, the Biden administration expanded Title 42 to expel Cuban, Haitian, and Nicaraguan migrants to Mexico if they entered the U.S. unlawfully, a decision that was greatly criticized. Earlier this month, the Biden administration sent 1,500 active-duty troops to the Southern border to aid the Department of Homeland Security ahead of the transition from Title 42.
In the days after Title 42 expired, Spanish-language conservative media outlets and pundits chose to fearmonger about “an invasion” of immigrants, largely ignoring reports of a drop in border crossings following the end of the Trump-era policy.
Claims that Biden “turned a blind eye” and caused an “invasion of illegal immigrants”
Despite the Biden administration’s efforts to rebuild the legal immigration system, Spanish-language conservative media outlets and personalities spread claims that President Joe Biden has “turned a blind eye” to the Southern border, resulting in an “invasion of illegal immigrants.”
- Voz Media, a Texas-based conservative news start-up that recently acquired the bilingual conservative news site El American, shared an article claiming “an avalanche of immigrants” is coming to the border. They also shared an article claiming “more than 83,000 irregular immigrants crossed the border the week prior to the expiration of Title 42.”
- La Derecha Diario, a right-wing publication with over 260,000 followers on Twitter, shared a clip of “a caravan with hundreds of thousands of migrants from Mexico,” claiming “Biden’s White House authorized” an “invasion of illegal migrants.”
- Raymond K. Azar, a columnist and producer for Americano Media, said there was a “massive invasion of illegal immigrants in El Paso, #Texas” after “Title 42 was undone on Thursday.”
- Agustin Acosta, a host on the conservative Florida-based radio show Cada Tarde, alleged, “A stampede” of what he said is more than “700,000 immigrants in Mexico preparing to illegally enter the United States as soon as Title 42 expires.”
- Conservative activist and media personality Abraham Enriquez claimed, “The Biden Administration had the opportunity to prepare but chose to turn a blind eye to the border crisis.”
Claims of a “Machiavellian plan” for Democrats to secure votes through immigration
Some Spanish-language conservative media personalities even toyed with “great replacement” theory rhetoric, spreading racist claims of a “Machiavellian” plan by Democrats to “change the face” of the electorate and get immigrants “hooked” with “freebies.”
The “great replacement” theory is a white supremacist conspiracy theory that falsely tells of an active effort by Democrats to encourage non-white immigrants to come to America to replace white people. The theory was a staple of former Fox host Tucker Carlson and the Fox News network and has inspired multiple mass shooters.
- Dania Alexandrino, the host of Americano Media's Hablando de Frente, claimed “illegal immigration” is “a Machiavellian” and a “long-term plan” by Democrats to “change the face” of the average voter in the United States.
- Alexandrino also alleged “9 million people [will become] new Democratic voters here in the next 18 years” due to illegal immigration.
- Alfonso Aguilar, a senior vice president and political director at Americano Media, said Biden “illegally” changed the law to permit an “avalanche” of immigrants to cross the border.
- Bianca Gracia, a right-wing conspiracy theorist and executive director for the political organization Latinos for America First, allowed her anonymous guest on her podcast Stand Up Stand Out America to spread racist conspiracy-theory-like rhetoric about a Democratic plot to secure votes through immigration:
GUEST CALLER: The black vote is not going to switch parties because of all the freebies they get. And they're never going to — they're never going to vote for the Republican Party because the Republican Party wants to stop these freebies. And it's unfortunate. Now they're starting to do the same thing to the Latino vote. They're trying to get them also hooked and addicted to government handouts. Look what they're doing to all the illegals that are coming over here. Immediately. What are they giving them? Freebies.
- Eduardo Menoni, a conservative activist and pundit with over 134,000 followers on Twitter, shared out-of-context claims that the Biden administration is giving migrants smartphones “paid by US taxpayers,” adding, “Biden is looking for votes.”
Claims that the border was safer under Trump
Former President Doanld Trump’s legacy at the southern border is made up of a useless border wall, threats of “mass deportations,” and inhumane family separation policies. Data shows U.S. Customs and Border Protection carried out almost half a million child detentions during the Trump administration, separating thousands of children from their families, some even for years. Still, following the end of Title 42, Spanish-language conservative media spread claims that Trump did a better job handling immigration and the border.
- Americano Media shared and translated a clip of Trump’s claims that Biden “turned the United States into a dumping ground for illegal aliens from all over the world.”
- Conservative author James Nava praised Trump for “presenting a plan for the mass deportation of illegal immigrants,” adding via an image, “The whole world was safe under this amazing man.”
- Lexit, a conservative organization “helping Latinos exit the liberal left," shared Trump’s claims to “immediately begin the process of fully securing the border” and said, “This is what a true leader looks like!”