tags: Press Releases

GOP Escalates Use of Dangerous Nativist Rhetoric Despite Latest Violence

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“It’s an invasion, we’re being invaded. No different than an Army of soldiers pouring across.” – Trump at Michigan Rally

Washington, DC – In an August op-ed in the Austin American-Statesman, “GOP campaigns on the rhetoric that led to El Paso carnage,” America’s Voice Campaigns Director Mario Carrillo warned of the dangers of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and other Republicans’ growing embrace of dehumanizing lies and nativist conspiracies directed at immigrants and asylum seekers, concluding: 

“This isn’t just politics. This language has real devastating costs, counted in human lives … Campaigns that employ the ‘invasion’ conspiracy theory are courting mass political violence.”

Unfortunately, the violence directed at migrants continues – as does leading Republicans’ dangerous use of this rhetoric. 

  • “Did You Get Him?” Details of West Texas (Near Hudspeth) Migrant Shooting Show Targeted Hate Crime. The Texas Tribune reports additional details of last week’s shooting of migrants by two brothers in West Texas, making clear it was a targeted hate crime: “A passing pickup truck stopped and backed up near the migrants, who hid behind brush. Someone from the truck yelled out in Spanish, ‘Come out you sons of bitches, little asses,’ … Michael Sheppard, the warden at a private immigration detention center in Sierra Blanca, then got out of the truck with a shotgun, leaned against the hood and fired two rounds, killing a man and injuring a woman in the group. ‘Did you get him?’ asked his twin brother, Mark Sheppard, who was also in the truck, according to the affidavit.”
  • Donald Trump at Weekend Rally:  “Invasion of Our Southern Border … No Different Than an Army of Soldiers Pouring Across.”: At a campaign rally in Michigan this weekend, Donald Trump stated, “Job number one for a Republican Congress is to stop the invasion of our southern border. It’s an invasion, we’re being invaded. No different than an Army of soldiers pouring across. These are an Army of many, many criminals … we have no idea who they are, where they come from, we know nothing about them.” 
  • “That’s How People Get Killed at the Walmart in El Paso” – Beto O’Rourke at Texas Governors’ Race Debate: At a debate against Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday, Democratic nominee Beto O’Rourke blasted Abbott for both his dangerous embrace of ‘invasion’ language and its deadly consequences and his preference for political stunts instead of engaging in real solutions on border and immigration policy. During an exchange in the debate, O’Rourke noted: [Abbott] “has been governor for eight years and this is where we are today. Some of the worst levels of engagement, encounters, fentanyl trafficking, and human smuggling that we’ve seen. That’s the result of stunts instead of solutions … this hateful rhetoric, this treating human beings as political pawns – talking about invasions and Texans defending themselves, that’s how people get killed at the Walmart in El Paso. The gentleman in Hudspeth that we just learned about yesterday, this is incredibly dangerous for Texas, and it is not reflective of our values.”
  • Texas Democratic Elected Officials Condemn Hate Crime and Dangerous Use of “Invasion Rhetoric”: The Texas Tribune reported that leading Texas Democratic elected officials spoke at a Saturday press conference about the West Texas shootings and larger dangerous climate fostered by GOP language: “‘It’s hard not to imagine that the victims were attacked in cold blood by two men who looked at the color of their skin and decided to make them targets,’ U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, said during a press conference, joined by Reps. Sylvia Garcia and Al Green of Houston and Lloyd Doggett of Austin. They also denounced the ‘invasion rhetoric’ they say Texas Republican leaders have used to describe migrants coming into the country, which they said has fueled violence against Hispanics.”

According to Mario Carrillo, Texas-based Campaigns Director for America’s Voice:

“Donald Trump, Greg Abbott, and Republicans across the country continue to fuel a  dangerous climate with dehumanizing rhetoric that stokes fear and keeps leading to violence. Migrants seeking a better life and asylum seekers arriving at our southern border are not an ‘invading Army.’ And the continued use of this rhetoric could lead to more violence, yet Republicans don’t seem to care. 

Yes, there are important discussions about managing the border in a safe, orderly and humane manner. But we need solutions – not scapegoats, political stunts and irresponsible and violent rhetoric that is tied to a growing body count.”