It’s an armed invasion read the email’s headlines accompanied with pictures of a massive weapons cache headed to the country. Emails like this end up in my inbox daily. Sometimes they come directly and often they are forwarded to me by well-meaning people. They are dangerous and are part of a sustained “fake news” feed created by people who demonize immigrants. All the emails have in common pictures presumably proving nefarious immigrants entering the country to destroy America. Along with the pictures are headlines intended to inspire fear in the readers. And, they all have in common that they are “fake news” intended to create fear of immigrants.

The latest iteration includes a few pictures of what the email characterizes as “52 tons of guns and ammunition.” The email adds that the cache of military weapons “is for Muslim immigrants who have come into the country.” At least six high quality pictures of the weapons cache being taken out of the Conex shipping containers are included.

As the reader scrolls down the message of doom, it propagandizes the threat to the doorstep of America by adding, “FOR YOUR INFORMATION—YAVEX USA IS A TURKISH ARMS MANUFACTURING COMPANY THAT IS LICENSED TO DO BUSINESS IN FORT MYERS FLORDA [sic]”.

As you can see, the implication is that there is a Muslim conspiracy supported by a Muslim government to invade the country and kill all freedom-loving Americans. The email adds, “If this doesn’t convince that this IMMIGRATION is nothing less than an ARMED INVASION then nothing well.”

The email then implores you to “share” it because “most western nation Main Stream [sic] media won’t cover this…”

These emails have existed for years as part of a sustained propaganda agenda to demonize immigrants. They form the basis for attacking immigrants as a threat to national security and the freedom-loving people of the country. For the most part, they remained in conspiracy circles among the same people who hate immigrants. But Donald Trump has made them part of the larger national dialog through his demonizing of immigrants at the national stage. And that has made these types of emails dangerous.

Today’s dialog about death of a Border Patrol agent and the serious injury of his partner a few weeks ago centers on the notion that undocumented immigrants, or drug runners “attacked” the border patrol agents. This premise has been pushed forth by the Border Patrol union and Donald Trump.

But the truth is that the investigation that has been made public so far seems to indicate that it wasn’t an “attack” that killed the agent and injured his partner, but possibly something else. It is these types of incomplete and agenda-driven messaging that has made it permissible to demonize immigrants as a danger to society.

The email that made into my inbox has nothing to do with immigrants.

Although the sample I received was dated December 2, 2017, the photos and the email messaging first appeared in 2015 via social media. The pictures of the weapons cache have nothing to do with immigrants, Muslim, or otherwise.
The pictures of the weapons cache come from a Greek Coast Guard interdiction of an illegal arms transfer of Turkish weapons to Libya in September of 2015. The weapons cache was not bound for immigrants, but rather they were intended to bypass the United Nations weapons embargo of Libya.

It is difficult to trace the origin of the email hoaxes, but this set of images and accompanying fearmongering has been making the internet rounds for about a year, or two, at least. There are many examples of this in Google search results.

The most egregious example is the one from a supposedly Christian organization called Worthy Ministries. Worthy Ministries is based out of Israel and offers “tax-deductible” donations out of its Franklin Tennessee office.

As you can see, the text of the website’s post is similar, if not identical to the email that made its way into my inbox this week. Forget the egregiousness of a faith ministry allowing this discussion for the moment and see how the propaganda is shepherded along towards the agenda of immigrant-hate public policy debates happening across the country today. One response to the post perfectly articulates the agenda driving Donald Trump’s attacks against immigrants.

Note the Christian-centered notion that this is a “Jihad” by Muslims against Christianity? This “Jihad” is designed to inspire fear and put God behind Trump’s agenda of immigrant bashing. It makes it palatable to attack immigrants under the guise of a Christian vs. Muslim ideological war. The policy agenda driving this propaganda is to create the illusion that the freedom-loving Christian Americans will only be safe by building a wall and expelling all immigrants that don’t fit the freedom-loving white-protestant persona that the propagandists want for America. To do so, they must first convince people that immigrants are anti-Christian intent on killing the American way of life on the behest of the Muslim bogyman.

People are predisposed to believe it because of the propaganda of demonizing immigrants. The notion that immigrants attacked two border patrol agents has traction, although evidence seems to contradict it, because people are being systematically programmed to believe that immigrants are dangerous to the country.

National policy on immigration is important to have, but the discussions should be based on facts and not fearmongering. Emails like this one and the Border Patrol union’s agenda-driven assertions that immigrants attacked the two agents do nothing to create fair immigration policy but, instead, demonize immigrants in the country.

It is these types of propaganda that is driving the immigration policy of the country, rather then sane discussions about the immigrants’ place in the country’s future.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...