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Last night, the New York Times reported the following: President Trump “wanted the [border] wall electrified, with spikes on top that could pierce human flesh. After publicly suggesting that soldiers shoot migrants if they threw rocks, the president backed off when his staff told him that was illegal. But later in a meeting, aides recalled, he suggested that they shoot migrants in the legs to slow them down.”
The following is a statement from Mario Carrillo, Texas State Director of America’s Voice and an El Paso native:
The President of the United States is touting violence and normalizing the dangerous worldview of white supremacy. Is there any wonder that white supremacists are inspired by him?
Trump’s comments are not off-the-cuff remarks but reflective of a deeply-held and deeply destructive worldview that is the beating heart of his presidency. America is a nation of immigrants that have come seeking freedom, economic opportunity and the hope of a better life just as my family did. And immigrants have delivered just that and have made America the great nation it is. Until today. Now there is a direct line between Trump’s words, his view that migrants, and especially Latinos are less than human and real life incidents of terror.
Two months ago, a white supremacist traveled across Texas to my hometown of El Paso and killed 22 people and wounded two dozen more at a local Wal-Mart. It was no coincidence that a shooter concerned about a “Hispanic invasion” chose to terrorize this majority-Latino city nor that the violence took place as Trump fixated on refugees and asylum-seekers at the border. El Paso, and Latinos around the country, have lived in fear ever since and now it becomes more clear than ever that deep in his heart, the President sees migrants, Latinos, and their families as targets to be attacked, a menace to be met with violence. Instead of helping us heal, President Trump’s comments embolden more anti-immigrant and anti-Latino violence and keeps a target on our back.
Nearly a year ago, a white supremacist fixated on the ‘replacement theory’ killed 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh after President Trump made the ‘migrant caravan’ his obsessive focus in the closing weeks of the midterm elections.
And of course, Trump’s language of punishing people and doing violence to immigrants isn’t just dangerous rhetoric that incites – they are ideas fundamental to the administration’s policies designed to keep out and kick out immigrants and people of color and their persistent attempts to stoke divides along racial and ethnic lines.
Our country is better than this dangerously erratic president who keeps contributing to a dangerous environment.