Earlier this month, an NPR/Ipsos poll revealed that over half of those surveyed believe it is either completely or somewhat true that the U.S. is experiencing an invasion at the southern border.

Having spent the last six months in the borderlands of Arizona, I know firsthand that while many migrants are coming to the United States seeking safety and security, this depiction of an invasion (which implies intent to conquest or the incoming of something hostile) is false and I hoped that the results were skewed by a small sample size.

Reading a recent letter to the editor written by a local man who was repeating a common, though incorrect, argument against immigration, I realized that there was likely more validity in the poll findings than I wanted to believe.

Despite the absence of evidence that the policy has served the purpose of protecting public health, Title 42 continues to be used as a political tool to deny asylum without due process, and the Aug. 25 letter titled “Globalism brings rise is diseases” repeated an all-too-commonly asserted myth of anti-immigrant rhetoric claiming that migrant populations are a public health threat.

After months of work at migrant shelters and resource centers in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, and talking with or reading about other nonprofit groups working with migrants, it is a common practice to test individuals when they come to these places for services. Furthermore, Customs and Border Protection requires a negative COVID test result within 24 hours of an interview appointment for those who are being allowed entry as an exemption to Title 42.

Finally, I cannot ignore the writer’s statement calling Africa “the petri dish of planet Earth” and challenge all of us to hold our friends and family accountable and engage in respectful conversation with people close to you when they make profoundly problematic comments such as this. The prevalence of the misconception of immigrants as dangerous due to stereotyping and blatant misinformation is dangerous, spreading anti-immigrant rhetoric and contributing to the dehumanization of migrants.

Amy Tice