Trump’s racist comments are his latest attempt to divide Americans

What Latinos have witnessed the past two years is an all-out assault against our community.

It’s an assault that started on the campaign trail and has continued in the policies advanced by the administration of President Trump.

Yesterday’s comments by Trump calling Haiti, El Salvador and African countries “sh*thole countries” are his latest attack, and yet another attempt to divide our nation.

The time for excuses is over.

Trump shithole comment
Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Back in June 2015, Trump began his candidacy by labeling people of Mexican origin as being mostly rapists and bad people.

He would go on to question the loyalty of a federal judge because of his Mexican ancestry—remarks that were characterized by people in his own party, like Speaker Paul Ryan, as the textbook definition of racism.

As president he has orchestrated attacks on the most vulnerable among us: our undocumented brothers and sisters.

But he has also taken aim at the documented by taking away protections from DREAMers and TPS holders—most recently nearly 200,000 Salvadorans. These are people who have lived in the United States for about two decades, and who are parents of about 192,000 U.S.-citizen children.

Trump shithole comment

Zeroing in on citizens, he attempted to assemble a sham voter commission, aggressively neglected the recovery of Puerto Rico while aiding Texas and Florida, and is letting the Children’s Health Insurance Program run out of money.

At the same time, he has boasted of his regressive tax reform scheme that uses money from low-income and working people to line the pockets of corporations and the super wealthy.

The president’s comments yesterday continue to provide proof of what underlies that assault: a strategy to weaken the ties that bind us as Americans, by pitting one community against another and demonizing millions in the process.

It’s an attempt to undermine what the majority of Americans consider one of our greatest national assets—our country’s diversity.

Trump comments

NO MORE EXCUSES

The vast majority of Latinos in America are U.S. citizens. And for the entire Hispanic community, the time for shallow condemnation and cringing is long over.

We’ve heard it before. And we’re tired of those who would make excuses for his words and actions.

Members of Congress who continue issuing statements to distance themselves from racist comments also need to take action to distance themselves from racist policies. And they have an opportunity to do so immediately.

Trump comments

The many who have voiced the need to address the plight of DREAMers have a clear decision to make—they can either support serious bipartisan negotiations happening in good faith and achieve a solution by January 19, or not. There is no gray area here.

But let’s be clear on what failure to stand for a solution means. It means an embrace of racialized policy-making designed to persecute contributing immigrants based on the color of their skin. It means continuing to be complicit in the maligning of Latino and Black communities regardless of immigration status.

There is no amount of hand-wringing or excuses that can cover this up.

UnidosUS is the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization. We have nearly 300 Affiliates—local, community-based organizations in 37 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico—that provide education, health care, housing, workforce development, and other services to millions of Americans and immigrants annually.

And we will continue to defend our American values and advance the policies that help build a country in which all can thrive.

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