A new campaign commercial for the Republican party blames the Democrats for letting cop killer Luis Bracamontes into the country and links the criminal with an incoming immigrant caravan.

The ad shows the smiling Bracamontes in court, where a judge convicted him of killing two police deputies in California in 2014.

“They’re f***ing dead,” Bracamontes says. “I’m going to break out and kill some more.”

Contentious campaign ad links immigrant caravan with cop killer Bracamontes

“Illegal immigrant, Luis Bracamontes, killed our people!” text in the commercial reads. “Democrats let him stay,” the video text continues.

The ad cuts back and forth between images of Bracamontes’ unrepentant demeanour in court and a migrant caravan making its way to the US-Mexico border.

“Who else would Democrats let in?” it asks rhetorically. “President Donald J Trump and Republicans are making America safe again.”

Trump tweeted out the commercial and it had more than 3.8 million views at time of writing.

News outlets have reported that the ad’s claim that the Democrats “let him stay” in the US is false and that Bracamontes had actually re-entered the country during the George W. Bush administration after previously being deported.

Speaking to reporters, Trump said he would sign an executive order next week that would drastically rework US policy around border control and responding to asylum seekers. “I don’t want them in this country,” Trump said.

Reactions to Trump’s anti-immigrant ad

CNN called the commercial “the most racially charged national political ad in 30 years” and “the latest example of the President’s willingness to lie and fear-monger in order to tear at racial and societal divides.”

Republican colleague Jeff Flake condemned the ad as a “new low in campaigning” and said it was “sickening”.

John Kasich, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, joined colleagues Christine Todd Whitman and Al Cardenas in denouncing the ad. In a now-deleted tweet, Cardenas wrote of Trump: “You are a despicable divider; the worse social poison to afflict our country in decades. This ad, and your full approval of it, will condemn you and your bigoted legacy forever in the annals of America’s history books.”

Compared to the infamous ‘Wilie Horton’ ad

Many commentators have compared the video to the notorious ‘Willie Horton’ ad released by an outside fundraising committee during former President George H.W Bush’s ultimately successful 1988 campaign against Democrat Michael Dukakis.

Berkeley Professor Robert Reich tweeted that the video “may be the most desperate and vile ad since Willie Horton” and said the Republican party had “resorted to fearmongering”.

That ad pointed the finger at the Democratic party for Horton committing a kidnapping and rape while temporarily out of prison, where he had been serving time for murder. Civil rights groups criticised the ad as blatantly racist.

Unlike the Willie Horton ad, however, this commercial has been explicitly endorsed by Trump.

In recent days, Trump has announced plans to send up to 15,000 troops to the southern US border to confront the caravan, which may not reach US soil for months. He has also made unsupported claims the caravan contains “criminals and unknown Middle Easterners” and refused to rule out a conspiracy theory that George Soros is funding it.

Ahead of the mid-term elections on 6 November, Trump has ensured immigration is never far off the news radar. Earlier this week, he vowed to sign an executive order ending birthright citizenship in the US.