As former president Donald Trump continues to invoke Hitleresque language indicating Latino immigrants are “poisoning the blood of the nation” and saying he wants to put immigrants in camps and deport them all, it’s somewhat astounding to see Latinos still support him. When we consider that most Latinos have immigrant family members and live in mixed-status families, it makes people wonder why they would put their close friends and families in jeopardy.
Previously, Trump would use the old trope of referring to all of us Latinos as Mexicans. Now, he’s taken a more direct approach with his dog whistles. We already know that the vast majority of his supporters think of immigration and automatically associate it with Latinos. They’re not worried about the white people who overstay their visas or Russians and Ukrainians getting special expedited treatment at the border – along with housing, food assistance, etc.
Just starting a conversation with a conservative voter exposes the implicit biases that drive their bigoted and often racist beliefs. While this may be a common trait among white conservatives, it’s an issue that has permeated into various Latino communities from parts of California and South Texas to South Florida and New Jersey.
It’s a product of not adequately addressing Spanish-language media and social media posts that often paint Democrats and liberals as socialists and communists – a take that dates back to the Ku Klux Klan. It’s effective among Latinos because very few people challenge them in Spanish. It’s a tactic extremists have adopted in recent years with great success because there is little to no pushback.
Despite the Klan-like language that says things like diversity and inclusion are communist ideas and despite many labeling President Joe Biden as a socialist, neither of those is remotely true. If anything, President Biden is a 1980s Republican – except for conservatives in the 1980s helped millions of immigrants receive amnesty and a tangible path to citizenship. The president isn’t interested in either of those and neither is Trump.
Republicans are currently holding war funding for Ukraine and Israel and funding to improve efficiency at the border (more Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents more funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and more border security) hostage unless Democrats agree to limit migrant rights and severely limit asylum claims. Despite most in Congress agreeing to the war funding package, Democrats are currently negotiating these xenophobic policies with Republicans.
What Republicans are looking for to agree to a vote on the funding for war is precisely what Trump has been saying he wants to implement if he returns to office. Republicans are laying the groundwork for him to be able to more easily achieve what he wants to do by putting the laws in place that will allow him to do it. If Trump doesn’t win reelection, Republicans have already set in motion a plan for them to continue to take migrant rights away for more war money.
The funding the White House is seeking is temporary for Ukraine. The rights they seem willing to take away for that funding are permanent. In essence, it’s a terrible horse trade that will put migrant lives at risk, and yet, far too many Latinos are already supporting Trump despite the dangers they’re putting themselves and their families in.
It’s uncanny, to say the least.
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