“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.
On Thursday, the Democratic National Committee seized on the timing of the ads.
“As another right-wing mob descends upon the Capitol this weekend, Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik is echoing the same vile rhetoric that has led to several acts of violence in recent years,” DNC spokesperson Adonna Biel said in a statement. “Apparently, this is what it takes to become a member of House Republican leadership — xenophobia and a remarkable commitment to pushing the Big Lie that led to an actual insurrection.”
Different versions of Stefanik’s ads appeared 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 about 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.