The Trump Regime Escalates Its War on Immigrants

[Content Note: Nativism; gas attack.]

Donald Trump entered the 2016 presidential race in June of 2015 by demonizing migrants in the ugliest terms — and he has exploited fear and stoked hatred of migrant people ever since, with his incendiary rhetoric about a caravan of migrants fleeing violence and starvation having reached a fevered pitch ahead of the recent midterm election.

He has used straight-up lies about a nonexistent immigration "crisis" to justify his relentless attacks on immigrants, including a heinous family separation policy that is profoundly traumatizing children. Further, he routinely suggests, despite demonstrable facts to the absolute contrary, that undocumented immigrants and asylum-seeking refugees are dangerous criminals who seek entry to the United States in order to harm citizens.

Recently, Trump has used his nativist lies to justify amping up border militarization as a caravan of desperate people who have traveled thousands of miles on foot to legally request refuge in the United States approaches the southern border. He also threatened to close the border altogether.

And, as the caravan approached, the inevitable happened.

Wendy Fry and Sonali Kohli at the LA Times: San Ysidro Border Crossing Closed for Hours; U.S. Officials Fire Tear Gas at Migrants.
The Mexican border was closed for hours Sunday at the San Ysidro Port of Entry after a group of migrants in Tijuana stormed the area, prompting the U.S. Border Patrol to fire tear gas at the group.

...Border Patrol officials said they used the tear gas after migrants threw objects at them. The gas was used to "dispel the group because of the risk to agents' safety. Several agents were hit by the projectiles," the agency said in a statement.
As Karen Attiah of the Washington Post noted on Twitter: "This is how American media would describe this if this happened in a non western country: 'American security forces under the Trump regime used chemical weapons in a cross-border operation against unarmed asylum seekers, including children.' My God."

Instead, there is a lot of victim-blaming and the use of hyperbolic language to suggest that border agents had no choice, with migrants being described as "storming the border" as opposed to "approaching the border," and "throwing projectiles" substituted for more specific (and less incendiary) language to describe a couple of people in a giant crowd allegedly throwing rocks at highly-armored border agents.

There is no justification for unleashing tear gas and stun grenades, but naturally that isn't stopping the Trump Regime (and their stenographers in the media) from trying.
U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement the department "will not tolerate this type of lawlessness and will not hesitate to shut down ports of entry for security and public safety reasons. We will also seek to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law anyone who destroys federal property, endangers our front-line operators, or violates our nation's sovereignty." Homeland security will maintain "a robust presence" along the border and continued "close contact with Mexican authorities," according to the statement.

The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, CHIRLA, an immigrant rights organization in California, condemned the use of tear gas against immigrants at the border.

"It is a despicable act on the part of the Trump administration and CBP officials to attack defenseless women and children firing tear gas, a chemical agent, at them," Angelica Salas, executive director for the organization, said in a statement. "These are human beings who are reaching a point of desperation because their asylum claims are being processed at a snail's pace or not at all."

...Critics said they were troubled that federal authorities would use tear gas against mothers and children seeking asylum.

"What we saw at the San Ysidro border crossing should horrify the whole country; it was simply inhumane," said Cristóbal J. Alex, president of Latino Victory Fund. "His administration has gone from locking children in cages to firing tear gas at toddlers and mothers. These families have the right to seek asylum in the United States. Denying them entry makes a mockery of our American values."
Or, at least what we claim those values to be.

I am grief-stricken and I am incandescently angry. And I take up space in solidarity with immigrants at the southern border, who are seeking safety, which we can and should provide. It is no more difficult than that.

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