Annalisse Galaviz
News Editor

Trump declared Nov. 1, or Dia de los Muertos to the large U.S. Latino population, “National Day of Remembrance for Americans Killed by Illegal Aliens.”

To say I didn’t expect much from the Oct. 30 weekend was an understatement: as News Editor, I was absorbed with election predictions, constantly thinking about the candidate I despised, and worrying about the spike in COVID-19 cases bound to occur on Halloween. Still, there was one day of respite to look forward to as a Latina: Dia de Los Muertos, when my family could focus on our loved ones and eat tasty snacks while we were at it.

Then, before I even got started celebrating, a news notification on my phone made me return to thinking about Trump all over again: he had declared my respite holiday, “National Day of Remembrance for Americans Killed by Illegal Aliens.”

The new “holiday” is  pretty straightforward: immigrants get their own day of punishment for the actions of very few, and the racism in the message is all-too-apparent, marking a historic shift in Trump’s usual racist rhetoric.

Let’s face it: a good portion of the U.S. have been all-too-comfortable with Trump’s subtle racism, refusing to believe Trump was racist without ‘definitive proof’ that, apparently, could only take the shape of Trump saying the N-word. However, this ‘holiday’ broke the subtext.

Whereas Trump has done many racist things throughout his Presidency, policy-wise, they at least usually had a reason, regardless of whether or not you agreed. For example, Trump first attacked Latinos during his 2015 campaign, referring to Mexican immigrants as rapists and drug-dealers, and eventually enacted worsening treatment on (Latino) immigrants along the southern border (never the northern) in ICE ‘detention centers.’ Still, this policy was at least debatably racist because it had a reason: like it or not, immigration to the U.S. could be criminalized if done incorrectly. Likewise, Trump’s 2015 words were often ignored by supporters, so long as at least one Mexican immigrant fit the stereotype he portrayed of Mexicans.

Similarly, when Trump called COVID-19 the ‘Kung Flu,’ supporters did not bat an eye because even though he rhetorically took an aspect of Chinese culture, ‘Kung Fu,’ and used it negatively to blame China (an action commonly defined as racism), the fact remained that the virus did originate in China. So long as slim reasoning was apparent in Trump’s hate speech or policy, many didn’t care too much — or, if they did, they got used to it over time, like me.

This new ‘holiday,’ though came as a shock, even from Trump.

 

Rhetoric: 

Though very much like my examples of Trump’s rhetoric, this argument may not be enough for some. The language Trump uses in his official White House proclamation is so explicitly racist, it’s unlike anything Trump has said before. First, there is the title of the proclamation which refers to immigrants who did not migrate to America legally as “illegal aliens.” While the U.S. has used this word before to refer to this group, in the context of Trump always focusing on illegal immigration from Latinos, the term “alien” obviously sets out to make the group a dangerous “other,” literally inhuman. For those who still do not get it, calling other humans not human is bad.

As early as the proclamation’s first sentence, Trump creates a hostile ‘us vs. them’ dynamic: “angel” Americans vs. “criminal illegal aliens.” Moreover, he provokes fear by using dramatic adjectives like “egregious,” “horrific,” and “violent” to not only refer to illegal immigrants who are murderers, but all (primarily Latino) illegal immigrants. “This program . . . will continue providing critical services until no American suffers the harm or loss of a loved one due to the violent actions of a criminal alien,” read the proclamation.

Furthermore, Trump paints himself as a sole savior for Americans, only achieved at the expense of his fear-mongering: “Under my watch, the voices of our Angel Families no longer fall on deaf ears.” The message further sets to intimidate Latinos immigrants by the mention of Trump’s force, ICE agents, who, for years, have hurt Latinos along the border, as stated: “I proudly support our dedicated Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Officers, Customs and Border Protection Officers (CBPOs), Border Patrol Agents, and other law enforcement officials who work every day to protect Americans from the senseless crimes that our Angel Families have had to endure.”

Moreover, this hate speech is backed up with policy — the institution of this new holiday, which is a punishment that obviously does not fit the crime.

 

The punishment does not fit the crime: 

Murder with malicious intent is unarguably evil, and I am in no way going to justify it. However, according to the laws of our nation, it must be punished through our legal institutions and creating a national holiday for such a minority group and individualized action is obviously a reach motivated by racism.

According to the little research we have on crimes perpetrated by illegal immigrants, perhaps one indicator that this issue is not as pressing as Trump argues is immigrants tend to commit less crime than U.S. citizens. In March 2019, even Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies stated, “A lot of data does suggest immigrants are less likely to be involved in crime.” In 2016, the year Trump began cracking down on racist claims of violent “illegal aliens,” a government study found that for murder in the U.S., 77.4 percent of offenders were U.S. citizens, compared to only 22.6 percent of non-citizens.

So, why create a holiday punishing murder only for immigrants who migrated illegally?

I think Fox News pointed out the holiday’s problem best in its remarks from an “angel family” who lost a son supposedly ‘at the hands of an illegal immigrant.’ The article states, “Don Rosenberg, whose son was killed when his motorcycle was struck by an illegal immigrant without a driver’s license, told Fox News that too many Americans are unaware of the problem because it is swept under the rug by the mainstream media.”

While this crime is undoubtedly horrible, the mention of illegal immigration at all was ridiculous and obviously racially-motivated. The perpetrator had been driving drunk, meaning there was no malicious motivation for the murder, despite the article’s attempt to frame the motivation as the simple fact that the perpetrator was a non-citizen. Furthermore, the reason for the murder was the crime of drunk driving, in which case that crime should be punished, not illegal immigration. Yet, there is no holiday for drunk driving, or murder in general, regardless of citizenship, because of the basic logic we all know, but Trump does not accept: crimes should be handled individually, and it is wrong to stereotype an entire group (non-citizen immigrants) for the actions of a minority (murderers).

 

The date:

As Trump’s supporters have not decreased by much following his racist rhetoric and policy due to slim reasoning, it is safe to assume my previous arguments will still fall on deaf ears. However, given the at least gray area Trump falls into in light of my last two arguments, the date he has assigned for the holiday at least is obviously discriminatory, and may even convert Trump supporters.

Given that Trump, throughout his political life, has focused only on Latinos, especially Mexicans, when discussing border policy, and only expanded the border wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, not against Canada, it’s obvious when Trump refers to “illegal aliens” that he is discussing Latino people of color. Additionally, Dia de Los Muertos, which falls on Nov. 1, is celebrated by many Latinos, especially Mexicans, as Latinos make up about 19 percent of the U.S. population as of 2019.

These two basic, well-collected data points can not be lost on Trump. If they are, it’s nearly impossible to see why so many people support a President so unable to analyze basic facts.

The obvious explanation is that Trump knows what he is doing. Trump, through this new holiday, actively sets out to racially profile and punish Latino immigrants, so far as taking a holiday from Latinos as his own. This is not a valid reason, according to typical Trump support standards, to punish Latino immigrants. It is a deviation from Trump’s usual racist practices.

Using the same date, essentially calling Dia de los Muertos illegitimate, is obvious theft. It is obvious cultural appropriation. It is an obviously racist act when the new holiday so clearly targets Latino immigrants. Trump supporters, even in the light of Trump’s election loss, must face the truth: Trump is racist in his actions and words, even if the word is not the N-word.

Feature Image: Sage Amdahl / Quaker Campus

Author

  • Annalisse Galaviz is the News Editor for the Quaker Campus. She has worked for the paper since 2018 in former roles as a copy editor and news assistant. She likes writing about hard-hitting current events and, naturally, spends most of her time on political Twitter so she can do this. Assuming she has free time, she enjoys writing bad poems and fiction stories.

Annalisse Galaviz is the News Editor for the Quaker Campus. She has worked for the paper since 2018 in former roles as a copy editor and news assistant. She likes writing about hard-hitting current events and, naturally, spends most of her time on political Twitter so she can do this. Assuming she has free time, she enjoys writing bad poems and fiction stories.

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