Political ads continue to hurt migrants, Latinos ahead of Arizona elections, advocates say

By José Ignacio Castañeda Perez || The Arizona Republic

The ads are almost always similar.

Sweeping desert vistas intertwined with shots of political candidates walking next to the U.S.-Mexico border wall and holding indiscernible conversations with law enforcement and border officials. Both Democratic and Republican candidates can be seen donning dusty boots in front of saguaros as ominous music plays in the background. 

The words “invasion,” “madness,” and “under attack” have been splayed across the screen of the ads for Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters and GOP candidate for governor Kari Lake.

A recent ad for Masters’ Senate campaign shows a graphic of a crowd of people pouring into the U.S. through a gap in the border wall. The gap is then swiftly closed with an animated portion of border fence as Border Patrol trucks and drones rush to the wall. 

Equipment from Anduril Industries is featured in a 2022 political ad from U.S. Senate hopeful Blake Masters. Billionaire Peter Thiel owns an investment stake in Anduril and has poured more than $13 million into helping Masters win office.

As Arizona’s 2022 election cycle approaches a critical point, political ads continue to dehumanize and vilify migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border by characterizing the situation as an “invasion,” leading to damaging effects for migrants and Latinos, advocates say. 

“The more dehumanizing rhetoric you use to talk about a particular population, the more likely you are to inflict harm on them and even death,” said Anna Ochoa O’Leary, professor and head of the Department of Mexican American Studies at the University of Arizona.

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