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If there remained any doubt about the evident and cruel war Donald Trump is waging against immigrants, especially undocumented immigrants and immigrants of color, the recent revelations made by The New York Times about the tactics more akin to those of a sociopath than a head of state, to impede passage through the southern border, should raise the hairs on anyone’s arm.
Beyond his xenophobic rhetoric and anti-immigrant policies that he has tried to turn into something “normal” over the past three years with its constant repetition, he has added a series of aggravations that exceed the limits of inhumanity, such as asking that immigrants be shot in their legs in order to reduce passage onto U.S. soil. This entails, beyond sadism, a strong whiff of authoritarianism and disturbing mental insanity.
According to the report by the New York daily, which is based on part of the contents of the book Border Wars: Inside Trump’s Assault on Immigration by Julie Hirshfeld Davis and Michael D. Shear, that was not the only idea Trump had to put the brakes on the flow of migrants to the United States. He had also asked for the construction of a moat on the southern border, which could be filled with crocodiles and vipers, as well as an electrified border fence with spikes on top that could pierce human flesh.
A chilling scenario, yes, but logically and indelibly “Trumpian.” Only the Comte de Lautréamont and Marquis de Sade could compete with such cruelty.
Thank goodness that, according to the report that has enraged Trump, more thoughtful members of his team told him that, constitutionally, everything that he was asking for was illegal, so that he reluctantly had to turn back his claims.
That is, this president has the country so accustomed to the stridency of his decisions, orders, and his compulsive and violent state of being—almost always in relation to the topic of immigration—that the latest discovery about his form of thinking about migrants that he does not like is no longer surprising.
And although indignant, he hastened to deny it on his Twitter account, saying that he can be tough on border security, “but not that tough,” the latest anti-immigrant saga adds, on the other hand, an even more elevated level of worry among migrant communities and the violence, verbal and physical, that they have had to face during this whole time. Without forgetting, of course, the press, which the president once again categorized as “enemy of the public,” adding the qualification of “corrupt,” as just one more example of his executive frustration. This is added to the shadow of political judgment and the apocalyptic presidential reaction in the sentiment that if he is impeached, “it will cause another civil war.”
In that way, the killing in El Paso, Texas two months ago was a sad and clear example of what hate discourse can provoke, which the White House engages in to perfection and which dissipates as the days go by. The 22 people who died in this shooting in which the executor was looking for Mexicans to riddle with bullets are the most recent tragic example of this blunt fact which, unfortunately, will remain latent as this nation enters the next electoral period.
In that way, the fundamental question is not why a president like this one, who has endorsed the separation of families at the border and caged children, remains in power, after so many attacks on the Constitution, human rights, and the immigration past and present of the United States, but why this society has become a mere spectator of the most denigrating deterioration in its history.
In other words, what kind of country is the United States, now that it has allowed people who promote veiled policies flavored with fascism to come to power? And even worse: why after three years —an eternity in political crises— this country has not been able to undo a political anachronism and a presidential accident like Trump who has cost it so much, that it could even lose absolute credibility as a democracy around the world for the rest of its days as a nation?
It is not necessary for the leader to deny the accusations that were made about the sinister ideas he has for how to guard the southern border —always the border with Mexico— with his load of sadism, since in the path he has drawn with his migration deterrence policies he has been leaving tracks of easily identifiable racism, which have themselves become a type of code that supremacists like the El Paso attacker have been able to decipher.
In this dichotomy not only is migration policy found —among those who wish to enter the country and whose access is being blocked— but the “two United States” that is getting closer and closer to this historic moat of snakes and alligators on the border of its own barbarism.
You can find the Spanish-language version of this article here.