Alt_Immigration, or @ALT_uscis, is a Twitter account committed to dispelling the myths the Trump administration spins on immigration. As you can imagine, those behind the account have practically been working overtime as President Donald Trump has in recent weeks intensified his call for a border wall to be constructed along the U.S.-Mexico border. In a rather bizarre development, the account identified film clips from Sicario: Day of the Soldado, the sequel to Denis Villeneuve's critically acclaimed 2015 thriller, that correspond with Trump's immigration talking points.
On January 18, amidst a government shutdown which began after Trump and members of Congress reached a stalemate over border wall funding, Trump claimed that a rancher had discovered "prayer rugs" left by illegal immigrants.
@ALT_uscis pointed out that this claim appeared to be inspired by a scene from the film.
On January 24, shortly before the shutdown ended, Trump repeated a claim he first made on January 10, offering a disturbing image of immigrants who cross the border, abduct women, "and put duct tape on their mouths."
At the time Trump made these remarks, Ashley Huebner, the associate director of legal services at the National Immigrant Justice Center, said they "are completely divorced from reality." As it turns out, they are. There are two scenes in Sicario: Day of the Soldado that depict kidnap victims with duct tape over their mouths.
On January 10, Trump claimed, without providing any evidence, that migrants are plowing through the desert in "unbelievable vehicles."
“They have unbelievable vehicles. They make a lot of money. They have the best vehicles you can buy. They have stronger, bigger and faster vehicles than our police have and than ICE has, and the Border Patrol have," he said at the time.
There's a similar scene in Sicario: Day of the Soldado, as a matter of fact.
The thread appears to have caught the eye of MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, who ran a segment about the parallels between Trump's claims about border security and the film.
These are "plot points in the same movie — which is fiction,” Maddow said on her show last night.
“Now in any normal administration it would be insane to suggest ... even joke about the president of the United States seeing stuff in a movie ... and maybe thinking it was real — or at least real enough to justify an actual military deployment of thousands of active duty U.S. troops to the border,” she said.
Others don't seem too surprised to know that the president is getting his talking points––and demonizing entire groups of innocent people––from movies.
Although the government shutdown ended once Trump finally agreed to a continuing resolution to reopen the government without border wall funding until February 15, he has indicated he will shut the government down again if funds for the proposed border wall aren’t provided.
He has also been using his Twitter account to post about immigration and the wall on a near-daily basis––and more than a few of these unfounded claims come from Fox News, his preferred media outlet.
The shutdown was an approval rating disaster for Trump, and as Jennifer Rubin, a conservative columnist for The Washington Post observed, his warning that he'll shut the government down again is likely “entirely empty," noting that his suggestion to declare a National Emergency to release the funding for the wall was “preposterous on its face.”
“To threaten for months that he’ll declared an emergency if he doesn’t get his way underscores there is no emergency,” she wrote. “Moreover, his declaration of an emergency can be overridden by a simple majority of both houses, which would be even more humiliating than Trump’s cave on the shutdown.”