The Trick in Trump's Final Campaign Ad About Immigrants

November 6th 2016

Tricia Tongco

GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump's final campaign ad makes a familiar claim:

"The political establishment that is trying to stop us is the same group responsible for our disastrous trade deals, massive illegal immigration, and economic and foreign policies that have bled our country dry."

The words are accompanied by gritty images of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, former President Bill Clinton, and President Barack Obama.

But the footage that has drawn the most scrutiny depicts a dense crowd of people streaming across a road as Trump says, "massive illegal immigration."

The ad implies that the people depicted are immigrants along the U.S.-Mexico border, where Trump has said he plans to build a giant wall to stop illegal immigration.

But they're not.


The video actually depicts Syrian refugees marching from Hungary to Austria, seeking to claim asylum during the height of the refugee crisis, according to The Intercept.

Nabih Bulos, a foreign correspondent who shot the video while working for The New York Times last year, told The Intercept he didn't approve the use of his footage in the ad:

"'When this footage was taken, thousands of refugees were on an odyssey through the Balkan corridor and Europe to escape the cataclysm ripping their country apart,' he wrote. 'As a son of two Palestinian refugees who benefited from Jordan’s largesse, a naturalized American welcomed to the country even after 9/11, as well as a working conflict journalist, the last thing I would want this footage to be used for is to embody Trump’s xenophobic, repugnant message.'"

The story of Trump's ad passing off footage of migrants in Hungary as a scene from the U.S. gained attention on Reddit.

Commenters called out the Republican nominee for pulling a fast one.

Screenshot from Reddit

Screenshot from Reddit

Screenshot from Reddit

Screenshot from Reddit

It's no surprise Trump would exploit Syrian refugees to falsely prop up his extreme stance on immigration.

Trump has previously made several problematic statements about Syrian refugees, describing them as ISIS members, part of a potential tactical ploy to infiltrate the U.S.: "I'm putting people on notice that are coming here from Syria as a part of this mass migration that if I win, they're going back.”

ATTN: has reached out to the Trump campaign for comment on this story and will update it when we receive a response.

Watch the full campaign video below.

[h/t The Intercept]