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The video is already drawing comparisons to the notoriously racist “Willie Horton” ad that took down Michael Dukakis’ 1988 presidential campaign. The video Trump retweeted features Bracamontes, who killed a California sheriff’s deputy and detective in 2014, and was intended to stoke fears about the caravan of refugees and migrants coming from Honduras and approaching the southern U.S. border.
The ad shows Bracamontes, who is on death row at San Quentin prison, at his trial. Video shows him saying he didn’t regret killing police, and saying that he would kill more. The ad also claims that Democrats let Bracamontes into the country.
While Bracamontes did initially come to the U.S. in 1993, he was first deported by the Clinton administration in 1997. He made his way back to the U.S. a year later and was arrested on drug charges in Arizona.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was pardoned by President Trump in 2017 after being charged with criminal contempt for his extreme tactics in going after illegal immigrants, let Bracamontes go, for unknown reasons.
Bracamontes continued living in the U.S. until 2001, when he was deported again following another drug charge. He came back later that year—under the George W. Bush administration—and married. He stayed in the U.S. for another 13 years, then killed the two police officers.
Trump has claimed without evidence that the caravan headed toward the southern border contains criminals—even members of extremist groups like ISIS. While he has admitted that there is no basis for these claims, he has not backed down from them or from using inflammatory, racist rhetoric.
Trump has also deployed 5.200 troops to secure the southern border and has threatened to send up to 15,000.
Ellen Ioanes is the FOIA reporter at the Daily Dot, where she covers U.S. politics. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School, and her work has appeared in the Guardian, the Center for Public Integrity, HuffPost India, and more.