President Donald Trump called undocumented immigrants “animals” during a roundtable discussion with California sheriffs who oppose so-called “sanctuary city” policies. It was another attempt by the Trump administration to make a false connection between immigration, criminality, and violence.
He stated, according to the official White House transcript,
We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in—and 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 level and at a rate that’s never happened before. And because of the weak laws, they come in fast, we get them, we release them, we get them again, we bring them out. It’s crazy.
As USA Today reported, Trump’s comments came in a freewheeling, hour-long meeting at the White House. He told the sheriffs,
California’s law provides safe harbor to some of the most vicious and violent offenders on Earth, like MS-13 gang members putting innocent men, women, and children at the mercy of these sadistic criminals.
His comment about “animals” were reminiscent of his very first press conference as a presidential candidate in 2015, when he said the United States had become a “dumping ground” for people other countries didn’t want:
When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.
On Wednesday he added,
Mexico does nothing for us, they do nothing for us. Mexico talks, but they do nothing for us, especially at the border. Certainly don’t help us much on trade.
Citing one study conducted by four universities, the New York Times wrote in March,
A large majority of the [metropolitan] areas have many more immigrants today than they did in 1980 and fewer violent crimes. The Marshall Project extended the study’s data up to 2016, showing that crime fell more often than it rose even as immigrant populations grew almost across the board.
In 136 metro areas, almost 70% of those studied, the immigrant population increased between 1980 and 2016 while crime stayed stable or fell. The number of areas where crime and immigration both increased was much lower—54 areas, slightly more than a quarter of the total. The 10 places with the largest increases in immigrants all had lower levels of crime in 2016 than in 1980.
In other words, Trump is once again lying to bolster his own racist political policies.
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