The Tell It Like It Is PAC, a super PAC supporting Chris Christie’s presidential campaign, has sent out an email warning of an “invasion” at the northern border. The email cites a recent report that there have been more than 6,000 apprehensions on the northern border over the last year, and that 85% of all land border encounters with individuals on the terrorist watch list occur at the northern border.
The email claims that “terrorists are trying to sneak into this country at every crack” and that “we need a strong, tough, and experienced President to STOP the invasion.” The email also claims that Chris Christie will be that President, and urges recipients to contribute to his campaign.
The email’s claims have been met with skepticism by some experts. They point out that the number of apprehensions on the northern border is still relatively small, and that the vast majority of people who cross the border illegally at the northern border are asylum seekers, not terrorists.
They also note that Chris Christie has a history of making inflammatory statements about immigration and that his record as Governor of New Jersey does not suggest that he is particularly effective at addressing complex issues like border security.
One of the issues that Christie has raised on the campaign trail has been his alleged concern over the high number of migrants hoping to cross the southern border.
“Legal immigration has made this country great. We need to set up a system that encourages people to do it that way,” Christie told reporters recently.
On October 18, 2023, Christie stated in an interview: “In the last 11 months, Customs and Border Patrol has averaged 200,000 apprehensions a month, and you know how many beds we have to detain people at the border? Thirty-eight thousand.”
The email’s claims are also ironic, given Christie’s role in the Bridgegate scandal. In that scandal, Christie’s political appointees closed lanes on the George Washington Bridge in retaliation against a mayor who had not endorsed Christie for re-election.
This suggests that Christie is willing to use his power to punish his political opponents, even if it means harming the public.
Christie has supported a policy of “attrition through enforcement,” which would focus on making it more difficult for undocumented immigrants to live and work in the U.S.
This approach would include increasing deportations, cracking down on employers who hire undocumented workers, and denying access to government benefits but it is aimed at punishing the victims of displacement and neglects the reality of human activity. Among the millions of undocumented people living in the US are people who came here on student visas or temporary passes and fell in love or found another legitimate reason to stay.
Christie has said that he is open to a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, but only after border security has been secured and other enforcement measures have been implemented. With this position, the former GOP governor hopes to capitalize on xenophobia without alienating voters who see the human cost of draconian measures that put all the blame on the immigrants.
It remains to be seen whether the Tell It Like It Is PAC’s email will be effective in raising money for Christie’s campaign. However, it is clear that the email is part of a broader trend of Republican candidates using anti-immigration rhetoric to appeal to voters.
Super PACs are independent political action committees that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to support or oppose candidates for federal office. They are not allowed to coordinate with candidates directly, but they can spend money on independent expenditures, such as ads, mailers, and voter mobilization.
Super PACs have been criticized by some people for creating a loophole in campaign finance laws that allows wealthy individuals and groups to have an outsized influence on elections. Some critics argue that super PACs should be subject to stricter donation limits and disclosure requirements.
Christie’s super PAC, Tell It Like It Is, has raised and spent millions of dollars to support his presidential campaign.
Some people have raised ethical concerns about the super PAC, including the following:
Large donations from wealthy individuals: Tell It Like It Is has received large donations from a few wealthy individuals, including Harlan Crow, a real estate magnate who has been criticized for his lavish gifts to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Some people argue that these large donations give undue influence to a small number of wealthy individuals.
Lack of transparency: Super PACs are not required to disclose the identities of their donors on a real-time basis. This makes it difficult to know who is funding these campaigns and what their motivations are. Tell It Like It Is has been criticized for its lack of transparency.
Potential for coordination with the Christie campaign: While super PACs are not allowed to coordinate directly with candidates, there is always the potential for indirect coordination. Some people have raised concerns that Tell It Like It Is may be coordinating with the Christie campaign in ways that are not allowed by law.