The Trump Regime Is Vile

[Content Note: Nativism; exploitation; descriptions of violence.]

Yesterday it was reported that the body of Mollie Tibbetts, a 20-year-old Iowan who disappeared while jogging a month ago, had been found in a cornfield, after the suspected killer led police to the site. My sincerest condolences to her family, friends, fellow students, and all the people who have been searching for her and hoping for her safe return.

The suspect in the case is 24-year-old Cristhian Bahena Rivera, whom police identified after viewing home surveillance video from the area in which Tibbetts was jogging, as indicated by her Fitbit. Rivera is reportedly an undocumented immigrant.

"Undocumented immigrants are considerably less likely to commit crime than native-born citizens, with immigrants legally in the United States even less likely to do so," but that hasn't stopped the Trump Regime from repeatedly justifying their nativist policies with lies about the criminality of undocumented immigrants.

In recent weeks, they have begun to push back on critics of their "zero tolerance" border policy which has resulted in unresolved family separations by framing undocumented immigrants who have taken the lives of citizens as having "permanently separated" grieving parents from their dead children.

The implication is that it's acceptable to tear children away from their parents who have committed no crime (it is not illegal to seek asylum at the U.S. border) because some number of undocumented immigrants have committed heinous crimes. Naturally, this is rank scapegoating and stereotyping: If the fact that a few members of any demographic group committed violent crime could be used to deny rights or safety or the basic good faith of being seen as individuals, we'd all be in trouble.

It doesn't take anything away from an undiluted condemnation of Rivera's despicable violence, for which he should absolutely be held accountable, to simultaneously acknowledge that he is an individual who committed that act, which itself is not representative of any community to which he belongs (aside from men who commit violence because of the entitlement nurtured by toxic masculinity).

Today, the Trump Regime took their obscene campaign to demonize the entirety of the undocumented immigrant community to another level, by releasing a video exploiting the discovery of Tibbett's body, featuring several relatives of people killed by undocumented immigrants gravely sharing their stories of being "permanently separated" from their loved ones.

A woman looks at the camera and says, "We were permanently separated, not just for a week or a month." Another woman says, "I was at home when I got the phone call from the hospital." Another woman says, "He was hit head-on, by a repeat illegal alien criminal." Text onscreen informs us: "Their children were killed by illegal aliens in our country."

The video goes on like this, with each person telling us that they have been permanently separated from their loved one.

Their stories are terribly sad. I am so profoundly sorry for their losses.

And I am simultaneously upset that they are allowing their understandable feelings of rage and grief and sadness and whatever else they are feeling, possibly including hatred, to be misdirected at members of a community who bear no responsibility for that loss — and who are themselves largely seeking refuge from violence.

More than that, I am incandescently angry at the Trump Regime for exploiting their agony and using it to defend policies that are creating lasting trauma.

Keeping babies in cages would not have prevented any one of the crimes detailed in this video.

That is an indisputable fact. And it matters.

[Related Reading: Their Bootstraps Made Them Do It; This Is Very, Very Alarming; and Trump Doubles Down on "Animals" Comment; Members of His Administration Amplify the Eliminationism.]

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