Opinion: Katie Britt’s outrageous statements about migrants

Opinion: Katie Britt’s outrageous statements about migrants - Politics - News

The Controversial Response of Republican Senator Katie Britt to President Biden’s State of the Union Address: A Closer Look at the Misleading Narrative on Immigration and Crime

Last week, Republican Senator Katie Britt from Alabama delivered the GOP response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address. Since then, America has been responding ruthlessly, with social media exploding with critiques and satire.

Britt’s speech was met with harsh reviews, mocking her acting class energy, decision to deliver the address from her kitchen, and breathless delivery. Saturday Night Live (SNL) piled on with a skit featuring Scarlett Johansson portraying Britt, overperforming every line and declaring, “tonight I’ll be auditioning for the part of scary mom” and “I’ll be performing an original monologue called ‘this country is hell’.”

One person who truly appreciated Britt’s speech was former President Donald Trump, who praised it as “compassionate and caring.” Not surprising, given that Britt adopted a page from his playbook by baselessly ramping up fears about an influx of migrants to scare voters into supporting the GOP.

In her address, Britt blamed Biden for the “border crisis,” claiming he had “invited” it with his executive actions. She shared a harrowing story of a woman who had supposedly been sex trafficked by cartels starting at the age of 12 on the US-Mexico border. Britt emphasized, “We wouldn’t be OK with this happening in a Third World country. This is the United States of America and it is past time, in my opinion, that we start acting like it.” She concluded, “President Biden’s border policies are a disgrace.”

However, the facts didn’t align with Britt’s narrative. Fact checkers revealed that this sex trafficking incident did not occur during Biden’s presidency, and the abuse didn’t take place on US soil but in Mexico. In response to criticism, Britt’s spokesperson defended the story as “100% correct” but later admitted that the woman at the center of the account was Karla Jacinto Romero, who testified to Congress years ago about her experiences during the George W. Bush administration.

Britt’s border narrative was grossly misleading and reminiscent of the exaggerated stories designed to instill fear about non-white migrants. Trump has long delivered such narratives, starting from his 2016 presidential campaign when he falsely claimed that Mexico was sending criminals and rapists to the US. Despite being rejected by voters in the 2018 midterm elections after scaremongering about migrant caravans, Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric remains a significant part of his playbook.

In December 2021, Trump invoked the dangerous language of Adolf Hitler, stating that immigrants were “poisoning the blood” of America. In January 2022, while visiting the southern border, Trump lied about jails being emptied to let former inmates migrate to the US. Most recently, after the Super Tuesday primaries, he claimed that “our cities are being overrun with migrant crime, and that’s Biden migrant crime.” The data does not support the assertion that migrants are responsible for higher rates of crime.

The Republican Party was not always associated with racist, anti-immigrant rhetoric. President Ronald Reagan in 1989 declared that immigrants were making our “nation forever young, forever bursting with energy and new ideas.” However, the GOP of today is dominated by Trump’s rhetoric. Therefore, while Britt’s misleading statements about crime and migrants may be laughed at, as long as she stokes fear about migrants, she will be loved by Trump and the MAGA base.