On Monday, less than 48 hours after 22 people were killed in what is believed to be an anti-Latino domestic terror attack in El Paso, Texas, Donald Trump’s reelection campaign launched a new batch of Facebook ads referencing the grieving border city.
“¡Únete ya!” (“Join now!) the video ad declared, before displaying footage of two smiling fans holding a sign with the slogan, “LATINOS FOR TRUMP/FUND THE WALL TOUR 2019/EL PASO, TX.” The Trump campaign has launched 66 similar Facebook ads seeking support from Latinos since Monday, of which half were targeted primarily at voters in Texas, according to a Guardian analysis of Facebook’s political ad archive. The ads were launched amid growing scrutiny and condemnation of Trump’s anti-immigrant and white nationalist rhetoric, which was echoed in the “manifesto” believed to have been written by the alleged El Paso killer. Trump’s reelection campaign has run 2,199 Facebook ads referring to immigration along the US-Mexico border as an “invasion”, the same word used in the manifesto to describe the presence of Latinos in Texas, a state that was part of Mexico until 1836. The ads were also launched just before US immigration officials raided several food processing plants across Mississippi, arresting about 680 predominantly Latino people in the largest workplace raid in a decade. The Wednesday raids separated dozens of children from their parents; kids as young as toddlers were taken to shelters or left to be cared for by neighbors or relatives.