In recent weeks a cache of El Paso County Democratic Party emails from the party leadership were provided to El Paso News by an individual that has asked for anonymity because they fear repercussions from party officials for sharing the emails with us. We have begun to go through them so that we can report on their contents. However, one email stood out because of its use of a term normally attributed to far-right-wing anti-immigrant rhetoric.
When Patrick Crusius attacked El Pasoans on August 3, 2019, one of the things he said about what drove him to kill Mexicans was because, as he called it, “a response to the Hispanic invasion” of the country. The invader language is dehumanizing language used by xenophobes as rhetoric by those who favor curtailing immigrants coming to America. The use of the language is design to denote a threat to the community. Referring to immigrants as “invaders” is prevalent among Right-Wing Populism which rallies around, at least for some, the white-supremacist view of a white America devoid of people of color.
Today’s immigration debate usually includes the narrative that there is a “border invasion.” The rhetoric is designed to demonize the immigrant population as a danger to America. Those who support the Great Replacement Theory, like Crusius, believe that America’s white population is being replaced by immigrants, mostly Latinos who have begun to assert political power.
Narratives like the immigrant “invaders” serve one purpose. The “invader” narrative is designed to instill fear in people and to create a narrative around a non-existent danger designed to exclude a group of people from the country through fear. Using the term “invaders” serves no purpose other than to demonize people for political purposes. And as Crusius has proven, its use can lead to murder.
In an email earlier this month, Michael Apodaca referred to the Libre group, who is collecting signatures in opposition to the University Medical Center (UMC) bonds, as an invading group. Apodaca referred to the Libre Initiative as a group that the El Paso Democratic Party needs “to fight against.” Apodaca added that El Paso was being “invaded by” members of the Libre Initiative.
Apodaca also wrote earlier this month that he and Veronica Escobar (D-TX) were “planning a messaging campaign” about the Libre Initiative. Escobar wrote an editorial to the El Paso Times on August 12 where she argued that “a powerful, out-of-town group is trying to use our community to push its extreme agenda,” adding that Libre was “funded by the Koch Brothers,” who are using “their immense wealth to try to dismantle the health care safety net” for El Paso. As we have previously reported, there are two petitions circulating in the community in opposition to the UMC bonds. Only one petition group has a nexus to the Koch Brothers.
On June 16, 2021, Escobar posted on her Twitter account that Crusius attacked Mexicans because of his belief that Texas was under an “Hispanic invasion.” Escobar put Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick “on notice” in her Tweet that “blood will be on your hands” because of their continued use of the demonizing “invasion” narrative. Both Abbott and Patrick have described immigrants crossing the border as an “invasion.”
Apodaca was previously the Deputy Campaign Manager and Field Director for Escobar.
Apodaca, by his email, has joined Abbott and Patrick in building false narratives around an “invasion” to demonize and diminish a group of El Pasoans opposed to Apodaca’s ideology. The El Paso Democratic Party chairman has taken a page from the far-right-wing anti-immigrant ideology in using inflammatory language to demonize other Hispanics simply because they are in opposition to him politically.