Just a month before the midterm elections, the political atmosphere in the United States is becoming increasingly tense. The influx of asylum seekers at the border with Mexico has reached unprecedented levels, and Republicans are calling it an “invasion”. In response, a small town on the border with Texas has declared a state of emergency. Meanwhile, the Biden administration has provided protection to nearly half a million Venezuelans in the country, giving them the possibility to work.
This has caused some Democratic mayors and governors to warn that the growing number of migrants in their care is straining their budgets. It is no surprise that immigration has become a major issue in political campaigns in Southern Arizona. Rick Scott from Florida and Kari Lake, who is in a close race in the Republican primary for governor of Arizona, have both used immigration as a key part of their campaigns. While the United States has been the scene of an anti-immigrant political climate that has politicized Latino immigrants during several election cycles, it seems that the volume of campaign ads that focus on border control has increased this election season. Reflecting the variation in Latino attitudes, 15 percent of the sample of Latino parents and primary caregivers said they felt that the campaign ad they saw “hit the nail on the nail with what needs to be done with immigration policy”. Another 29 percent of respondents indicated that seeing these campaign ads made them feel that “people don't want me here in the United States”.Arizona political experts say that Republican candidate Kelly Masters is betting on an immigration protest before the elections to help him defeat Kelly.
He added that he believes in “election day and not” in the election season, although he later answered “no” when asked if he supported eliminating voting by mail in Arizona, where it has been widely allowed for decades. In my own research, I have discovered that living in states with punitive immigration policies not only affects the health of immigrants, but also of Latinos in general. Given the limited access to mental health services of the Latino population to mental health services that the Latino population has had before and during the pandemic, the marked increase in advertisements for anti-immigrant campaigns has enormous repercussions on the mental health of Latin Americans. Masters won the primary election with more than 300,000 votes. On Monday, Kelly's campaign revealed that a coalition of more than 80 Arizona Republicans supported him instead of Masters. What is surprising, however, is that the southern border was used as a backdrop for campaign advertisements during the primary season in non-border states. Kelly's campaign said it was referring to Biden's decision to end Title 42, a pandemic-era policy that began during the Trump administration and allowed officials to reject asylum seekers in the name of public health, and highlighted Kelly's strong opposition to this measure this year.
The increase in these anti-immigrant ads is indicative of a greater acceptance of this extreme political rhetoric, which, unfortunately, suggests that the Latino community will continue to be exposed to more stress-provoking political images than ever before. Lake won the party's bid for governor and, in recent polls, is nearly three points behind Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. As we approach election day, it remains to be seen how political campaigns in Southern Arizona will address immigration issues and how these issues will shape their outcomes.