Nearly 40% of Americans and most Republicans believe the lie linking migrants to fentanyl smuggling, an NPR/Ipsos finds. When respondents were asked about the false claim that “most of the fentanyl entering the U.S. is smuggled in by unauthorized migrants crossing the border illegally,” 39% of respondents said it was true.
That includes 23% of Democrats, 38% of independents, and a whopping 60% of Republicans. More than half of respondents also said there’s an “invasion” at the southern border, which is yet another lie. What both of these lies have in common is that they’ve been pushed relentlessly by lying Republicans and propaganda outlets.
RELATED STORY: Most arrested for drug smuggling are U.S. citizens. Don't count on GOP to stop attacking migrants
As noted just last week, Tennessee’s Marsha Blackburn is among the most recent elected Republicans to spread this trope, almost lamenting a more than 200% rise in fentanyl seizures by U.S. border officials. The lie has also come from Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, as well as Steve Scalise and conspiracy theory proponent Elise Stefanik.
During a July press conference, Scalise claimed that a so-called border crisis is “so bad that it's created a fentanyl crisis that is killing tens of thousands of people.” What he didn’t answer is how massive drug seizures by U.S. border officials have equaled an “open border.” That fact is, it’s largely U.S. citizens who have been caught smuggling large quantities of drugs, and it’s happening at ports of entry, not in between.
But Republicans don’t care, and would rather turn this genuine crisis of drug overdoses into anti-immigrant fodder. They’re doing it with success, with the polling showing that a good chunk of respondents believe it’s “at least somewhat true that migrants bringing fentanyl and other illegal drugs over the southern border are responsible for the increase in drug overdoses and deaths in the U.S.”
When it comes to the “invasion” lie, “Republicans (76%) believe this more so than Democrats (40%) and independents (46%),” the polling said. “However, Republicans who cite Fox News or other conservative news sources as their main news source are even more likely to believe this than Republicans who get their news elsewhere (91% vs. 71% of those who have a different primary news source).”
The Fox propaganda network has gone as far as to falsely claim “that Biden is intentionally allowing fentanyl to cross the border to kill Trump voters,” Media Matters reported in May.
“If you wanted to kill a bunch of MAGA voters in the middle of the heartland, how better than to target them and their kids with this deadly fentanyl,” Republican Ohio Senate nominee J.D. Vance said in a right-wing interview, echoing a claim from Tucker Carlson. “It does look intentional. It’s like Joe Biden wants to punish the people who didn’t vote for him. And opening up the floodgates to the border is one way to do it.” That, dear readers, is horrifying bullshit. But it’s what passes for GOP policy these days.
”The poll suggests that the reach of some false and misleading claims may be growing,” NPR reported. “Four years ago, NPR asked if ‘immigrants are more likely to commit crimes or be incarcerated than the U.S.-born population.’ Back then, more than 60% of respondents correctly identified that statement as false. But when asked again this year, only 49% got it right.”
Alarming, especially when some of the conservative respondents who believe immigrants commit more crimes also know the former president they support is a criminal, and they don’t care.
Trump and his followers proved on Jan. 6 how dangerously close they came to overturning our democracy. Help cancel Republican voter suppression with the power of your pen by clicking here and signing up to volunteer with Vote Forward, writing personalized letters to targeted voters urging them to exercise their right to vote this year.
Huge amounts of drugs have been seized at the border and Republicans are very mad about it
Marsha Blackburn's tweet about 'open borders' and increased drug seizures makes no sense
Ron DeSantis is full of it, yet again