As we approach the November election Americans are overwhelmed with the amount of campaign ads flooding their television and social media feeds. It is estimated that by election day over $9.7 billion will have been spent on campaign ads. Between January 6, 2021, and August 7, 2022, 2 million ads aired on national television alone.

The volume of campaign ads can unfortunately be harmful to some members of the public due to the heavy emphasis on immigration and immigrants.

While the United States has been home to an anti-immigrant political climate that has politicized Latino immigrants for several election cycles, it feels as though the volume of campaign ads that focus on border enforcement has increased this campaign season. America’s Voice has reported 700 unique paid ads that have been viewed 52.6 million times on voters’ social media feeds are anti-immigrant, divisive and/or racist. Many of these ads are generating fear and xenophobia by framing the immigration issue around an “invasion” of immigrants coming to the United States, which generates fear and anger.

The primaries push candidates to mobilize the more ideologically extreme segments of their respective parties. It is therefore not surprising there was a heavy use of border enforcement and anti-immigrant ads during the Republican primary. However, what is surprising is that the Southern border was used as the backdrop for campaign ads during the primary season in non-border states. This included ads suggesting weak borders were responsible for drugs and crime in states as far from the border as South Carolina and Alabama.

We are interested in how the exposure to a high number of anti-immigrant campaign ads may impact the attitudes of the Latino population.

Read the full article about anti-immigrant campaign ads by Gabriel R. Sanchez and Carly Bennett at Brookings.