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A Stark Contrast of Immigrants and America: Trump’s Palm Beach Racism and Nativism Versus Baltimore Bridge Aftermath

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Washington, DC — The contrast between the real story of immigrants and America and Donald Trump and his allies’ anti-immigrant vision has been on stark display these past days, brought into vivid relief especially in contrasting the commentary and reflections about the six immigrant workers who died in Baltimore with the latest openly racist and nativist comments from Trump at a Palm Beach fundraiser, as reported by the New York Times.

At the fundraiser, Donald Trump engaged in “an extensive rant about migrants entering the United States,” per the New York Times, and said, “These are people coming in from prisons and jails. They’re coming in from just unbelievable places and countries, countries that are a disaster … Why can’t we allow people to come in from nice countries … Nice countries, you know like Denmark, Switzerland? Do we have any people coming in from Denmark? How about Switzerland? How about Norway?” Trump then proceeded to re-up his relentless falsehoods about Latino migrants and asylum seekers and anti-democratic threats.

According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

“On Friday, President Biden spoke eloquently about building up America and recognized immigrants’ powerful contributions. He also met with the families of the workers lost in that tragedy. In sharp contrast, Donald Trump went on an openly racist and anti-immigrant rant before millionaires in Palm Beach, weaponizing immigration lies and conspiracies as part of his larger threats to American democracy. The contrast brings into sharp relief two visions of immigrants and America itself, one filled with the ugliest of lies and one that speaks to the real story of immigrants in America and how their ongoing sacrifice and hard work build a stronger nation.”

Among the related coverage and commentary capturing the real story of immigrants in America include:

  • President Biden comforts families in Baltimore: On Friday, President Biden met with the families of the immigrant men who lost their lives in Baltimore’s Key Bridge collapse, as well as CASA Executive Director Gustavo Torres. Biden’s public remarks included reflections that: “The damage is devastating, and our hearts are still breaking. Eight, eight construction workers went into the water when the bridge fell, six lost their lives. Most were immigrants, but all were Marylanders —hard-working strong and selfless.” See our preview statement ahead of President Biden’s Friday visit: here.
  • Major Garrett of CBS News offered one of the most powerful reflections on the men who died and the larger implications about immigrants in America, recently stating: “We don’t know their immigration status, we don’t know how long all of them lived and worked in America. We do know their work was, on the very best days, backbreaking and perilous … We know they often worked in the middle of the night. We know the bridge spans swayed; we know that cars sped by them at frightening speeds. We also know this: in the past ten years or so, at least since 2016, workers from Mexico or central American countries have been habitual and intentionally slandered as violent criminals, mental defectives, or carriers of wicked diseases. Statistically those slanders have never, ever, been true. But the slanders have resonated and spawned a kind of snarling fear and resentment in certain parts of our American political landscape.  … Let us hope, no let us resolve, that their deaths may begin to dislodge the rabid contemporary reflex to scorn those who come to America to work, to flee violence, to find a better life to turn shovels and fill potholes while we warmly sleep.”
  • NBC News: “How immigrants are helping boost the U.S. job market without affecting inflation”: As the article notes, “Economists increasingly believe that the post-pandemic surge in immigration is a key reason the economy has been able to grow steadily without pushing inflation higher, as the new arrivals have helped employers fill roles at levels of pay that have kept a lid on overall price growth.

Read a new op-ed from Vanessa Cárdenas on the Univision website: “How Trump’s relentless anti-immigrant focus is tied to his threats to democracy