One of the most pernicious aspects of the current crisis of family separation at our border is the fearmongering and lies spread about immigrants by Trump and his supporters.
From the beginning of his campaign, Trump painted a picture of “American carnage” and vast gang violence perpetrated by immigrants that simply doesn’t exist. But his violent rhetoric was the centerpiece of his campaign, and was an intentional political tactic. White supremacists Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller saw polling data that suggested resentment toward immigrants was a winner for Trumpublicans, and decided to ride the lie of the “murderous immigrant” as long and hard as they could.
The facts, of course, paint the opposite picture. It has been demonstrated by research and data that immigrants have no negative impact on the overall employment rate, and they pay more in taxes than they receive in government benefits, so their presence helps the United States finance an aging baby-boomer population.
Moreover, not only is violent crime in America at nearly a forty year low, but immigrants–both undocumented and legal–are far less likely to commit crime than native born citizens. Here is a chart from the Washington Post that lays waste to Trump’s lies and fearmongering, followed by a link to the full article:
Note that this chart was produced by the Cato Institute, a conservative think tank!
Today, Trump said of the conclusions contained in the above chart, “it’s not true.” When his myths are challenged, he only knows how to lie. And when it comes to the issues that he uses stoke fear and outrage among his voters, he has to lie in order maintain his power.
Demonizing people is what authoritarians and dictators do. By stoking anxiety and preying on people’s fear of the other, citizens can be manipulated more easily, especially if the media has also been demonized and marginalized. Thirty years before Trump was elected, Fox “news” began spreading malignant propaganda and misinformation that has brought real journalism under suspicion, a fire that Trump has fueled. This has created a perfect storm of resentment against immigrants.
However meekly, Rep John Faso has rejected border separations. But he has also echoed Trump’s dog-whistle fearmongering on immigrants, talking about MS-13 gangs as if they were a mortal threat to our district. They are not. His support of recent immigration legislation in the House exposes his desire to reduce the number of immigrants and asylum seekers while giving the Executive Branch more power to grant visas and citizenship to select white nations, excluding all others.
We need to rub the facts of immigration in John Faso’s face, and make sure he owns the lies and distortions he has helped to spread. We also need to broadcast these facts to our fellow citizens in hopes of reducing the ugly nationalist fears that Trump and Fox have been pushing. The more energy we can remove from the immigrant fear myth pushed by the White House, the more we can destroy a central pillar of the Trumpublican midterm strategy and give our nominee a better chance of winning.
Let’s keep working to Fire Feckless Faso…