Their Friends

118th House Majority

Following Republicans taking control of the House of Representatives in 2022, they laid out plans to push xenophobic policies and rhetoric to retain their majority. Branded under the innocuous-sounding “a Nation that’s safe” policy, the GOP House has not only passed an extreme immigration bill that would obliterate the asylum system but also descended further into white nationalist conspiracy theories.

Since taking control of the House, Republicans have held more than 30 congressional hearings that have laid the groundwork to push the bigoted and antisemitic great replacement conspiracy theory. The GOP invited several witnesses with ties to Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate groups. But extremism was also on the dais, with Republicans using hearings to platform “invasion” and great replacement conspiracy theories and dehumanize immigrants and people seeking asylum and refuge.

This rhetoric is deadly: in recent years, numerous racist mass murderers have cited this conspiracy theory. Despite this dark history, Republican members in the House have refused to stop peddling this language, and in addition, have fearmongered about the size of migrant arrivals and pushed falsehoods about noncitizen voting. In 2023, there were a total of 675 unique social media posts from official Congressional social media accounts using the great replacement conspiracy theory, mainstreaming this violent narrative. Despite knowing the connection between the great replacement conspiracy theory and extremist domestic terrorism, GOP House members have instead made it a key plank of their messaging.

The House Majority has also made it their mission to impeach Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, the first Cuban Jewish American to hold the office and the highest-ranking Latino official in the federal government, on claims that he was not willing to enforce the nation’s immigration laws. Not only is this claim baseless and without evidence, the H.Res.863 impeachment resolution introduced by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was littered with “invasion” rhetoric.

This has real-world dangers. In January, the FBI arrested a man “galvanized by anti-immigrant rhetoric about an ‘invasion,’” who had “plotted to launch an attack on migrants and federal law enforcement at the southern border using explosives and sniper rifles,” Tess Owen of Vice reported. This impeachment effort was a strategic play to further convince Americans that the problems that exist in their lives are all due to the influx of immigrants and to use the fear and scarcity mindset as a ploy for the next election cycle.

Even with the far-right wing of their party in the House causing chaos by kicking out former Speaker Kevin McCarthy because he wanted to pass a clean budget bill without any anti-immigration policies, the Freedom Caucus is unrelentless in showing that they would rather have a government shutdown if it means keeping nativist legislation a priority for GOP House leadership.

But for House Republicans, the descent into white nativist extremism is a slippery slope destined for chaos and anti-governance. Even though Republicans demanded and got several anti-immigrant provisions in the recent border bill, they disowned it due to Donald Trump’s disapproval, who said it would be “a great gift to the Democrats, and a Death Wish for The Republican Party.” They’ve made clear they see immigration and the border as an issue to run on, rather than an issue to be addressed.