Grijalva Calls on Chair Westerman to End Committee Republicans’ Dangerous Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric, Conspiracy Theories

WASHINGTON – Ahead of the House Natural Resources Committee’s sixth immigration-related hearing this Thursday, Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today sent a letter to Chair Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) urging him to denounce the use of anti-immigrant disinformation, dangerous “invasion” and Great Replacement conspiracy theory language, and other white nationalist rhetoric in Committee work.

In his letter, Ranking Member Grijalva outlines several incidents of Committee Republicans using blatant “falsehoods and distortions” to blame migrants and humanitarian aid organizations for criminal activity. At a February field hearing, for example, he recalls a particularly egregious example:

“A Member of the Committee said that the human trafficking occurring across the southern border was being ‘facilitated’ by local aid groups and that it was, ‘the greatest human trafficking effort, perhaps, in the history of the world since slavery.’ Not only is the comparison to slavery deeply disrespectful to the descendants of enslaved persons, but this kind of language can also inspire rogue people in the country to harass or threaten employees of NGOs. In recent months, organizations such as Catholic Charities have seen or received disturbing, hateful, or threatening messages.”

The letter also highlights Committee Republicans’ use of “invasion” and replacement theory language. Ranking Member Grijalva warns of the danger of this rhetoric, pointing out how it has already been directly linked to acts of political violence and domestic terrorism:

“The language of an immigrant ‘invasion’ is rhetoric that is inexorably tied to the ‘Great Replacement’ conspiracy theory that has repeatedly been invoked by white nationalists and antisemites to justify violent acts of domestic terrorism. This includes the mass murders of dozens of Black Americans at a Tops Supermarket in Buffalo, New York; Jewish Americans at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Latino Americans at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, among other communities touched by tragedy. For example, the suspect in the Tree of Life shooting previously made posts on social media blaming a Jewish humanitarian group that supports refugees for helping bring ‘invaders’ into the country. The El Paso suspect made similar posts online, saying the shooting was in response to an ‘Hispanic invasion of Texas.’”

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Contact: Lindsay Gressard