Wednesday, August 7, 2019

President's immigration rhetoric legitimizes white supremacist violence

Adrian Carrasquillo writes in The New Republic how closely the language used by the El Paso, Texas mass murderer echoes the Trump administration messaging. Trump called immigration along the southern border an “invasion” six times in seven months: once in November and December each, and twice in January and again in June, all before telling four congresswomen of color to go back to where they came from. At a rally in May, Trump asked, “How do you stop these people?” A follower in the crowd responded, “shoot them.” Trump laughed and pointed.

This rhetoric is tied to actions and consequences of Trump’s abuse-prone zero-tolerance immigration policy, which have included U.S. citizens detained for weekssix migrant children dead since September, and increased denaturalization investigations by Homeland Security. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials allowed reporters to photograph caged immigrants in desperate conditions under a bridge in El Paso in March, a spectacle one reporter in attendance told me seemed to be an effort by the Trump administration to push the narrative that the national emergency declaration of the previous month was warranted, by depicting El Paso negatively.

It’s no surprise, then, that Latino elected officials, activists, and leaders grappling with what happened in El Paso say it was a natural progression of the rhetoric and actions of the administration and exposed the staggering scale of racism the Latino and immigrant community has been facing all along.

 “If you look at the shooter’s language and the president’s language they were very similar, and the president has inspired hate and violence, especially against immigrants and Hispanic Americans,” Representative Joaquin Castro, chair of the Hispanic Caucus, told me. “My fear is what the shooter says in his manifesto is true—that this is just the beginning because of the president’s rhetoric that he engages in regularly.”

The League of United Latin American Citizens released an unambiguous statement, declaring “President Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric and policies inspired the killing of innocent women, children, and men.”

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