In an interview with a Mobile, Alabama talk radio station, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump continued his war on illegal immigrants, by blaming them for recent civil unrest in Baltimore and Ferguson. During the interview, Trump stated:
You know, a lot of the gangs that you see — this doesn’t hopefully pertain to you guys so much — when you look at Baltimore, when you look at Chicago, and Ferguson a lot of these areas. You know, a lot of these gang members are illegal immigrants. They’re gonna be gone. We’re gonna get them out so fast, out of this country. So fast.
In typical Trump fashion, he provided no evidence for his claim, and he offered no specifics on how he would implement his policy to remove all the “illegals” so fast. Furthermore, by invoking Ferguson and Baltimore in his rhetoric against gangs, he was implying that the demonstrations in those cities were gang-related, rather than community responses to egregious acts and persistent patterns of police brutality.
Obviously Trump knows that the community responses in Baltimore and Ferguson came primarily from African-American U.S. born citizens. However, by linking urban unrest in African-American neighborhoods to illegal immigration, Trump can rhetorically try to discredit the “black lives matter” movement and Latino immigrants in one fell swoop.
He is making a distinctly racist argument that essentially casts all non-whites as unworthy of citizenship in the United States. He also is attempting to conflate African-American social justice movements with illegal immigration in an attempt to de-legitimize those movements.
This is nothing new for Trump. For example, Trump has also embraced the “birther conspiracy theory” . Trump has promoted the bizarre claim that Barack Obama faked his birth certificate, and that he was not born in the United States.
While the right-wing in America will never admit to being racist, the implications of Trump‘s arguments are all too clear. The only real Americans are the “good white folks.” Americans of color are illegitimate and their claims to citizenship are suspect. This doesn’t just apply to Latinos in Los Angeles or Laredo. It also applies to blacks in Baltimore and to the President of the United States himself.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.