Donald Trump and his administration are escalating their racist crusade against the undocumented.
Trump and Co.’s xenophobic ranting isn’t just sickening. The repeated use of the word “animals” is intended to dehumanize the desperate people who reach the US border with Mexico, having fled violence and repression.
This is certain to embolden racist vigilantes and immigration authorities alike — and lead to more horrors like the murder of Claudia Patricia Gómez González, a 19-year-old from Guatemala who was shot and killed by a Border Patrol agent in late May while crossing into the US.
Dominga Vicente, Claudia’s aunt, sent a heartbreaking message about her niece: “To the government of the United States, I ask you do not treat us like this — like animals — just because you are a powerful, developed country.”
But that is exactly what the Trump administration intends. Five days before Claudia was shot down, the official White House website published a statement titled “What You Need to Know About the Violent Animals of MS-13,” an inflammatory memo graphically describing several instances of extreme violence associated with members of the notorious gang that is based in El Salvador, but formed in the US in the 1980s.
In less than 500 words, the author of the statement managed to use the word “animals” a total of 10 times.
This was an obvious attempt to double down on Trump’s comments the previous week during a roundtable discussion with state and local leaders on California’s sanctuary laws, which the Justice Department is trying to overturn in court.
“We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in — we’re stopping a lot of them …you wouldn’t believe how bad these people are,” Trump fumed. “These aren’t people, these are animals, and we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before.”
This was just the latest of Trump’s off-script outbursts….