By John Wagner,
Rep. Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), the No. 3 House Republican, is pushing the notion in Facebooks ads that President Biden and fellow Democrats are seeking a “permanent election insurrection” by expanding pathways to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
The ads from Stefanik come ahead of a rally planned for Saturday in Washington in support of those charged with crimes in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol and as House Democrats work to advance a measure that would allow several million immigrants to apply for permanent residency.
“Radical Democrats are planning their most aggressive move yet: a PERMANENT ELECTION INSURRECTION,” says one version of the ad, paid for by Stefanik’s campaign committee, that appeared Wednesday. “Their plan to grant amnesty to 11 MILLION illegal immigrants will overthrow our current electorate and create a permanent liberal majority in Washington.”
The ad depicts Biden with people who appear to be migrants reflected in the sunglasses he is wearing.
The language in the ads echoes that of far-right commentators, including Fox News’s Tucker Carlson, who have advanced a “replacement theory” that says liberals are seeking to replace White citizens with non-White immigrants who are inclined to support the Democratic Party.
For Stefanik, embracing such rhetoric is a departure from earlier in her political career. Before she replaced Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) as the House Republican conference chairwoman in May, some in her party had raised concerns that her record on immigration was too liberal.
An anti-immigration group criticized Stefanik’s co-sponsorship of the Farm Workforce Authorization Act, which includes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented migrant farmworkers.
Different versions of Stefanik’s ads started appearing on Facebook over the weekend, with several showing migrants trying to scale a border barrier. Some of the ads that debuted Wednesday target Biden by name, as well as Vice President Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
The ads warning of an “insurrection” are appearing nearly nine months after violent supporters of then-President Donald Trump breached the U.S. Capitol as Congress sought to count the electoral college votes solidifying Biden’s victory as president.
The Capitol Police are bracing for Saturday’s “Justice for J6 rally,” being planned by a nonprofit group led by former Trump campaign staffer Matt Braynard. The goal, Braynard has said, is to peacefully demand that charges against nonviolent Jan. 6 protesters be dropped. Braynard claims those protesters “reasonably believed” they had permission to enter the Capitol. About 700 rallygoers are expected.
On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee approved several provisions on immigration that Democrats are angling to include in a $3.5 trillion spending plan. Under budget rules, that overall package of legislation could be passed without Republican support.
Among their provisions, the proposals would allow several million undocumented immigrants — including “dreamers,” who were brought to the United States as children — to apply for permanent residency.