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Republican Party’s anti-immigrant rhetoric—with Donald Trump at the helm—is bleeding into civil society to dangerous effect.
As Frank Sharry noted earlier this month, the emergence of white nationalist and neo-Nazi support for Trump shows “he is fostering a climate that demonizes and dehumanizes 55 million Latinos because of the way they look or speak, even if their families have been here for centuries.”
Donald Trump’s entry into the Republican primary has coarsened the debate over Latino immigrants and immigration policy – in his party and throughout the country. By making hateful statements and promoting radical policies, he’s, in effect, encouraging others to speak – and act – accordingly.
Below is a timeline of some of these incidents.
In a video that garnered millions of views online, a woman harassed a Spanish-speaking woman at a restaurant, saying “We speak English here,” before telling her “Go back to Spain”. Watch the exchange here.
In Boston, two brothers terrorized a homeless Latino man with a metal pipe, breaking his nose and leaving him with serious bruising across his ribs. The men finished their brutal assault in an act of humiliation, by urinating on his face. Police responding to the scene said they found the beaten man “laying on the ground, shaking, his face…soaking wet.”
As for the brothers, witnesses say the two intoxicated men were spotted “walking away laughing.”
When arrested and questioned, the brothers — who already had lengthy criminal records between them — lay blame for the assault squarely at the feet of Donald Trump:
“Police said Scott Leader, 38, told them it was OK to assault the man because he was Hispanic and homeless.
‘Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported,’” he allegedly told the police.”
Trump attempted to distance himself from the assault, but not before telling reporters that his followers are simply “passionate.”
At a Trump rally in Alabama — also attended by the notoriously anti-immigrant Jeff Sessions — an audience member yelled “White Power!” during the candidate’s speech. Watch the exchange here.
At the same rally, a Trump supporter “jokes” to AL.com about shooting and killing undocumented immigrants at the border:
“Mobile resident Jim Sherota, clutching a vaporizer in one hand and wearing a t-shirt of conservative musician Ted Nugent, took it one step further. ‘The way I see it they ought to make it a vacation spot,’ Sherota said. ‘OK, you want to come to the border, $25 for a permit, you can shoot all the people you want that cross illegally.’ He later clarified that his remarks were ‘in jest.’”
Following his ejection from a Trump press conference, Univision anchor Jorge Ramos is confronted by a man identified as a Trump supporter, who, in front of cameras, tells the journalist (and U.S. citizen) to “get out of my country”:
“Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s “passionate” fans will likely support him for any reason, even if it means going after U.S. citizen journalists. Soon after Donald Trump ejected the Spanish media Univision journalist Jorge Ramos from a press conference for asking questions about immigration on Tuesday night, a man told Ramos to ‘get out of my country.’ ‘You were very rude — this is not about you,’ the unidentified man says, confronting Ramos outside the press conference, in video footage uploaded to the Univision‘s website. ‘Get out of my country. Get out–‘ ‘This is my country — I’m a U.S. citizen too,’ Ramos quipped. ‘Well, whatever. Univision-whatever. It’s not about you,’ the man shot back, before an uniformed individual separated the two.”
The identity of the man — who appeared to be wearing a Trump sticker or button on his jacket — is unknown. The Trump campaign, in turn, denies having anything to do with him.
That same day, immigrant rights advocate Christian Ramirez and his infant son were harassed by men mimicking Trump’s toxic “anchor baby” rhetoric.
In San Francisco’s predominately-Latino Mission District, community murals are discovered tagged with “White Power” messages:
“Mission Local reports that area resident Sandra Sandoval spotted the message on the sidewalk near the McDonald’s on 24th Street. A swastika was also drawn on the tag, they say. Update: SFist commenter Wagnerian_thrice says that ‘The white power graffiti is on the 24th at BART platform, too.’ The same ‘white power’ message was repeated on a mural outside the La Gallinita Meat Market, which is at 2989 24th Street between Alabama and Florida Streets. According to La Gallinita owner Salvador Vasquez, the mural, which depicts Juan Diego receiving a miracle from the Virgin of Guadalupe, has rarely been vandalized due to the religious nature of the art. ‘I’ve been here since 1975. Everything has happened,’ he says. ‘But to put it directly on a mural — it’s the first time I’ve seen that.’ The tag was also spotted on a new mural South Van Ness and 24th Street. That one depicts Mission District icon Chata Gutierrez, who died in 2013. ‘The scaffold isn’t even down, and they tagged it,’ Cindy De Losa, Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center store manager says.” See a photo of the tag here.
At a protest in front of Trump Tower, a Trump bodyguard sucker-punched a Latino man after snatching his sign from his hands. The NY Daily News confirmed this is the same bodyguard who threw Jorge Ramos out of Trump’s press conference in Iowa a few days ago. Watch the exchange here.
In Indiana, assailants shot a 14-year-old Latino teen as he left a grocery store with his mother.
The teen — who still has a bullet lodged in his back because doctors fear removing it could cause further damage — says he heard an anti-Latino slur during the attack:
“ ‘Out of nowhere I heard a whistling, kind of like a bottle rocket then I felt something hit my side and I just lurched forward,’ said Zaragoza.
Witnesses say the shots came from a moving car. The suspected shooters drove past Brian and yelled an anti-Hispanic slur.
‘The fact that they yelled out a racial term and made it about that–obviously the intent there, in my opinion, is clear because they are specifying why they are shooting at this kid,’ said Carlos May, executive committee of the Indiana Latino Expo.’”
The same shooters possibly targeted a nearby Mexican food stand earlier that day:
“Minutes earlier, just a few blocks from the spot Zaragoza was shot, a Mexican taco stand was also the scene of a shooting. An SUV with an adult and two small children inside was shot at. Nobody was injured.
The car description that Zaragoza gave police is similar to the one spotted at the taco stand shooting. Also, .40 caliber shell casings were collected at both scenes.
‘If they were just targeting random Mexican places, then I guess I was just wrong place wrong time,’ said Zaragoza.”