In California on Wednesday President Donald Trump said some immigrants in the country illegally were “animals” and vowed to toughen the country’s immigration laws and their enforcement.
NPR tweeted: “During Roundtable, Trump Calls Some Unauthorized Immigrants ‘Animals’
During Roundtable, Trump Calls Some Unauthorized Immigrants 'Animals' https://t.co/RJnay6R6Ir
— NPR Politics (@nprpolitics) May 17, 2018
During a meeting with law enforcement and other officials who oppose “sanctuary city” laws the president said:
“We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in, we’re stopping a lot of them, but we’re taking people out of the country, you wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals, and we’re taking them out of the country at a rate that’s never happened before.”
Before Trump’s remarks Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims had expressed her frustration that California’s sanctuary city laws have handcuffed her ability to enforce federal immigration laws.
“It’s really put us in a very bad situation— it’s a disgrace,” Mims said. “There can be an MS-13 gang member, if they don’t reach a certain threshold, I can’t tell [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] about them,” she added.
Trump said that because the U.S. has “the dumbest laws on immigration in the world,” we have had a huge influx of illegal immigration and pledged once again to take actions to solve the problem.
The roundtable was the latest opportunity for the president to criticize Congress, who he has asked repeatedly since he became president to pass tougher laws that would more severely limit the undocumented people coming across the Mexican border.
“We’re working hard and I think it will all come together. Because people want it to come together,” Trump said yesterday.
Trump has been attacking the idea of sanctuary cities for a long time. He has complained that when local law enforcement officials are not required to enforce federal immigration laws they make the country less safe.
In March Attorney General Jeff Sessions filed a lawsuit against California over its sanctuary cities policies.
It should also be noted that yesterday was not the first time Trump and other members of his party have likened immigrants to animals.
On the campaign trail in 2016 when talking about immigration candidate Trump said in a speech that “We’re dealing with animals.”
In April he said that sanctuary cities were “breeding” immigrants, which is a term used to refer to livestock.
Several years ago right-wing Congressman Steve King of Iowa compared immigrants to dogs.
When Trump and other Republicans call people animals they are dehumanizing them. When they dehumanize people then they can rationalize treating them inhumanely, and that is what is going on with Trump’s immigration policies. If immigrants are no longer treated as people then authorities can justify any atrocity committed against them. The end result of these ideas and policies was seen last century in Nazi Germany when Jews were dehumanized and compared to animals.
Words matter, and ideas matter, and we must not let the right-wing anti-humanist politicians define the debate and take away the humanity of people who come to this country seeking a better life.
It’s good we have leaders like California Governor Jerry Brown who are willing to fight back. He tweeted:
@realDonaldTrump is lying on immigration, lying about crime and lying about the laws of CA. Flying in a dozen Republican politicians to flatter him and praise his reckless policies changes nothing. We, the citizens of the fifth largest economy in the world, are not impressed.”
???? @realDonaldTrump is lying on immigration, lying about crime and lying about the laws of CA. Flying in a dozen Republican politicians to flatter him and praise his reckless policies changes nothing. We, the citizens of the fifth largest economy in the world, are not impressed.
— Jerry Brown (@JerryBrownGov) May 16, 2018
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.