PHOENIX — With anti-immigrant rhetoric in the lead up to this year’s crucial midterm elections, nearly 1 in 3 American adults believe an effort is underway to replace US-born Americans with immigrants for electoral gains. .
According to a survey by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, about 3 in 10 also worry that American-born Americans are losing their economic, political and cultural influence because of more immigration. Republicans are more likely than Democrats to fear a loss of influence due to immigration, 36% to 27%.
Those views mirror anti-immigrant sentiment on social media and cable TV, with conservative commentators such as Tucker Carlson taking advantage of fears that the new arrivals could undermine Native-Native populations.
In its most extreme manifestation, increasingly public views in the US and Europe tap into a decades-old conspiracy theory known as the “Great Substitution”, a false claim that native-born populations were replaced by non-white immigrants. are being eroded by, and will eventually wipe out, their culture and values. The once-taboo word became the mantra of the Conservative candidate losing in the recent French presidential election.
Sally Ganz, 80, said, “I strongly believe that Democrats — from Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi, all the way down — want to bring illegal immigrants here and give them the right to vote immediately.” In fact, only US citizens can vote in state and federal elections, and obtaining citizenship usually takes years.
A white Republican, Ganz has lived his entire life in Trinidad, Colorado, where nearly half of the 8,300 population identifies as Hispanic, with roots dating back centuries to the region’s Spanish settlers.
“Isn’t it obvious that I watch Fox?” quipped Ganz, who said she watches conservative channels almost daily, including the top-rated Fox News Channel program “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” which is a prime proponent of those views.
“Demographic change is the key to the political ambitions of the Democratic Party,” Carlson said on the show last year. “In order to win and retain power, the Democrats are planning to change the country’s population.”
Those views are not held by most Americans—in fact, two-thirds think the country’s diverse population makes America strong, and oppose the passage of legal status for immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children. far more favored than doing. But the deeper concerns expressed by some Americans help to explain how the issue energizes those who oppose immigration.
“I don’t think immigration really affects me or that it undermines American values,” said Daniel Valdes, 43, a registered Democrat who works in finance for an aeronautical firm on Florida’s Space Coast. “I’m so indifferent about all this.”
Valdés’s maternal grandfather immigrated to the US from Mexico, and he is said to have “tons” of relatives in the Texas border city of El Paso. Her father’s side has Puerto Rican roots.
While Republicans worry more about immigration than Democrats, the most intense concern was among those with the greatest propensity for conspiratorial thinking. It is defined as being most likely to agree with a series of statements, such as “the lives of most people are being controlled by plots hatched in secret places” and “major events such as war, recession and Election results are controlled by small groups that are working covertly against the rest of us.”
Overall, 17% of those surveyed believe both Native Americans are losing influence due to a growing population of immigrants and a group of people in the country trying to replace Native Americans with immigrants. who agree with his political views. , That number rises to 42% in the quarter for Americans most likely to adopt other conspiracy theories.
Alex Hoxeng, 37, a white Republican from Midland, Texas, said he found those most extreme versions of immigration conspiracies to be “a bit far-fetched,” but believes immigration can reduce the impact of American-born Americans. could.
“It seems to me that if we are full of illegal immigrants, it could undermine our culture,” Hoxeng said.
Teresa Kovrubias, 62, rejects the idea that immigrants are undermining the values or culture of American-born Americans or that they are being brought in to shore up the Democratic voter base. He is registered to vote but is not in alliance with any party.
“The majority of immigrants I’ve seen have a good work ethic, pay taxes and have a strong sense of family,” said Kovrubias, a second-grade teacher in Los Angeles, whose four grandparents immigrated to the US from Mexico. “They help our country.”
Republican leaders, including Arizona’s frontier governor Doug Ducey and Texas’s Greg Abbott – who is running for re-election this year – have increasingly cried out for what they call an “invasion,” for being photographed with conservative politicians. Travel to the US-Mexico border. Former President Donald Trump’s Border Wall.
The vulnerable Democratic senators in Arizona, Georgia, New Hampshire and Nevada join several Republicans in the running for election this year as they wait for the Biden administration to lift the coronavirus-era public health rule known as Title 42 , who deny migrants the opportunity to seek asylum. , They fear it could draw more immigrants to the border than the authorities.
US officials stopped migrants more than 221,000 times at the Mexican border in March, a 22-year high, creating a frightening political landscape for Democrats as the Biden administration prepares to remove the Title 42 authority on May 23. Was. Epidemic powers have been used to expel migrants. More than 1.8 million times since it was implemented in March 2020 on the basis of preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Newly arrived immigrants are barred from voting in federal elections because they are not citizens, and obtaining citizenship is a difficult process that can take a decade or more – if they are successful. In most cases, they must first obtain permanent residency, then wait another five years before applying for citizenship.
Failed to examine evidence of widespread voting by ineligible people, including non-citizens. For example, a Georgia audit of its electoral rolls completed this year found less than 2,000 instances of non-citizens attempting to register and vote in the past 25 years, none of which were successful.
Blake Masters, a candidate for Senate in Arizona, is among the Republicans running for office this year, which has played into concerns about a changing population.
“The Left really wants to change the demography of this country,” he said in a video recorded in October. “They want to do this so that they can consolidate power so that they never lose another election.”
The Associated Press-NORC survey of 4,173 adults was conducted December 1–23, 2021, using a combined sample of interviews from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, designed to be representative of the US population and online opt-in from the interview panel. The margin of sample error for all respondents is plus or minus 1.96 percentage points. AmeriSpeak panels are recruited randomly using address-based sampling methods, and respondents were subsequently interviewed online or by phone.