Friday, January 27, 2017

On Holocaust Remembrance Day, James Martin Labels as "Appalling" President Trump's Plan to Demonize Immigrants

On his Facebook page today, James Martin, S.J. (right) wrote the following when sharing Ben Kentish's January 26 Independent article, "Donald Trump's Immigrant Crimes List Labelled 'Shocking in the Extreme' by Human Rights Groups." I appreciate both Martin's remarks and Kentish's article.

Yesterday President Trump announced something truly appalling: he would publish a weekly list of immigrants who have committed crimes. This demonization of a particular group of people is reminiscent of the worst kinds of autocracies and fascist governments, who typically paint certain groups first as "unpatriotric," then as "criminals" and finally as "animals" or "vermin." In the 1990s, for example, the Tutsi-run radio stations in Rwanda began to refer to the Hutu peoples as "cockroaches," as a lead-up to the genocide. Likewise, in his presidential campaign, Trump referred to immigrants as "animals."

The selective focus on the few crimes of immigrants (who are statistically less likely to engage in criminal behavior) is frighteningly reminiscent of the Nazi use of the "Jew as criminal" trope, used to stir up anti-Semitism in the 1930s and 1940s. Why would a leader focus only only on crimes, instead of the great good that immigrants do--other than to stir up prejudice, increase contempt and foment hatred? The defense that this is "just facts" is false. Because one could just as easily publish a weekly list of the crimes of other groups – say, white billionaires – and with this selective focus turn people against them.

These kinds of actions, which serve only to mislead people, increase prejudice and provoke anger must be called what they are: evil. They must be named and resisted. Especially today, on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Related Off-site Links and Updates:
Trump's Weekly List of Crimes Committed by Immigrants is Straight Up Fascism – Ben Cohen (The Daily Banter, January 27, 2017).
Nazis Once Published List of Jewish Crimes, Trump Now Pushing to Do the Same for Immigrant CrimesDemocracy Now! (February 2, 2017).
The Trump Administration Plans to Push Immigrant-crime Propaganda. Here Are the Facts – Naomi Shavin (Vox, January 27, 2017).
The Fictitious Connection Between Immigrants and Crime – Jason L. Riley (The Wall Street Journal, July 14, 2017).

See also the related Wild Reed posts:
On International Human Rights Day, Saying "No" to Donald Trump and His Fascist Agenda
Quote of the Day – January 20, 2017
Progressive Perspectives on the Election of Donald Trump as President of the United States
Election Eve Thoughts
Carrying It On
Progressive Perspectives on the Rise of Donald Trump
Trump's Playbook
Fasting, Praying, and Walking for Immigration Reform
May Day 2007
Reflections on Babel and the “Borders Within”
Rallying in Solidarity with the Refugees of Syria and the World

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