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Veteran Spanish-Language Journalists Maribel Hastings and David Torres Comment on Existential Moment Created By Trump’s Latest Racist Remarks

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Following Trump’s existentially racist remarks about Africa, Haiti, and El Salvador yesterday, many in the political class rightfully expressed their outrage.  America’s Voice En Español, a project of America’s Voice, is driven by veteran Spanish-language journalists Maribel Hastings and David Torres.  They each added their take, based on years of experience covering political discourse and the politics of immigration.  Below we present key excerpts from their latest pieces, translated into English.  Read all of their columns, in Spanish, here.

From Maribel Hastings: “Did anyone still doubt that racism defines the immigration policies of Trump?” (published in Spanish at Univision.com)

How sadly ironic is it that just days from the birthday of civil rights icon Martin Luther King, the president who governs us referred to Haiti, African nations, and El Salvador as “shithole countries” during a White House meeting to discuss a preliminary agreement over DACA with a bipartisan group of senators.

CNN indicated that news of Trump’s comments, first reported by The Washington Post and then spread like wildfire nationally and internationally, came to light at the same time that Trump recorded a presidential message about MLK Day….

Trump lamented that the United States, instead of continuing to admit immigrants from so-called “shithole countries,” should instead embrace immigrants from countries like Norway.  I ask you, “What is the distinguishing feature that Norwegians have that Trump likes so much?”

This man has called Mexicans rapists and terrorists; said that Haitian immigrants “all have AIDS”; just yesterday during the White House meeting asked “why do we need more Haitians?”; and said that Nigerian immigrants would never “go back to their huts” in Africa.

His immigration policy is based on racial discrimination.  That is why he wants to kill TPS and the diversity visa lottery.  That is why he is obsessed with ending “chain migration,” which is really just the process by which family members sponsor relatives to immigrate.  That is why he has rejected the tool of prosecutorial discretion that used to focus deportations on real criminals.  That is why he ended DACA, even if now he claims he wants to pass a “bill of love” for Dreamers.

And to take it back just a little bit further, racism drove Trump’s insistence that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.  Coming back to the present, racism is the reason that President Trump is treating Puerto Ricans devastated by Hurricane Maria as fifth-class American citizens.

However disgusting is Trump’s most recent racist outburst, it’s equally disgusting to see his parade of enablers on television contorting themselves, once again to defend, justify, and excuse him.  It’s also disgusting to see the Republican Party – the party of abolitionist Abraham Lincoln – be complicit in their silence, as the president’s big mouth drags them all down into the shit.

From David Torres: “The verbal racism of an anti-immigrant president” (published in Spanish by America’s Voice)

Even though [Trump] came into power relatively easily with an anti-immigrant agenda, history has already consigned this to be one of the darkest chapters of this nation.  Recall that he didn’t win the popular vote, but was stealthily installed by the incomprehensible Electoral College and an important fraction of white voters in the United States who are animated by his discriminatory rhetoric that refers to a “glorious” past and a social formula that did not include minorities.  These groups were harassed, attacked, marginalized, and pushed out, and the signs saying “Whites Only” or “No negros, Mexicans, or dogs allowed” that were present everywhere were a clear sign of intolerance.

How [Trump] has maintained power for almost a year is the question that millions of people here and throughout the world are asking right now, especially in this country that has tried to distinguish itself as an example of the fight for and defense of civil rights – one that has tried to instill a culture of tolerance and demographic diversity both here and abroad.  These are the precise values that have made this country into the place of aspirational dreams–both personal and collective – unprecedented by history….

Now that we have once again confirmed the very essence of the president’s governing style to be rooted in xenophobia, we have to realize that Trump is converting the United States into an “island” that will not only reject future generations of immigrants – if that’s what they are – but force them to look toward other horizons where the human right to mobility is not stubbornly blocked by a “Shithole President.”