In his kickoff speech as a presidential candidate, billionaire Donald Trump suggested that most Mexican immigrants are criminals, saying they are “bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” He conceded, as an afterthought, “And some, I assume, are good people.”
As Trump surged in popularity, other candidates emulated his anti-immigrant rhetoric, reminding we Hispanics of our heritage of rejection and violence.
In August, according to a news story in The Boston Globe, two South Boston men, Scott Leader, 38, and his brother Steve, 30, were returning home from a baseball game when they came upon a 58-year-old homeless Hispanic man sleeping outside a train station.
The two, both with extensive criminal records, according to the newspaper, urinated on his face, punched him and beat him with a stick. The victim was taken to Boston Medical Center where a day later he remained in fair condition with a broken nose, bruises on his head and a large bruise across his torso.
The assailants were arrested on multiple charges and held without bail. Police said the older brother told them it was OK to assault the man because he was Hispanic and homeless. “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported,” he said, according to police.
The assailants did not check or know the immigration status of the victim. They saw brown skin and concluded he did not belong in the United States. That view has a long history, going back to the mid-19th century when the United States conquered Mexico and annexed half of its territory.
Although the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo granted citizenship to the Hispanics residing in the conquered territories, there was a prevalent idea that only people of a certain skin color should be added to the union.
Apparently that idea still appeals.
When Trump went to Mobile, Alabama, to give a stump speech, a landscaper, Jim Sherota, 53, quoted by The New York Times, said he hoped that Trump, if elected, would “make the border a vacation spot, it’s going to cost you $25 for a permit, and then you get $50 for every confirmed kill. That’d be a nice thing.”
Of the estimated 54 million Hispanics now in the U.S., millions descend from people who never crossed the U.S. border. My own family simply moved within what was called New Spain when they came to New Mexico in 1693.
Ricardo Aca, who emigrated without documents from Mexico to New York with his mother in 2005 as a 14-year-old and now has a permit to work, courageously responded to Trump.
Aca, a high school and community college graduate from Queens, New York, works as a busboy for a restaurant inside the Trump SoHo hotel, as a runner for another one in Queens and as an assistant in a photo lab. With a filmmaker friend, he made a video contesting Trump’s opinion and posted it on Facebook, where it attracted more than 300,000 views in 24 hours.
He saw a wrong and tried to right it. “This is not who we are, this is not who I am, this is not anybody I know who is an immigrant,” he said in the video.
In Mobile, Trump said the Bible is his favorite book, but his message is miles apart from the message found in Leviticus 19:33: “When an alien resides with you in your land, do not mistreat such a one.”
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Once again the issue isn’t about immigration. It is about ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION and the jumping of the line mostly by Mexicans. It is about sanctuary cities that release felons back into the population where they continue to maim and kill.
Mr. Sandoval- What part of our own people do not have jobs don’t you get? -Buck
Country has a huge problem with undocumented or illegals, take your pick. All the negative comments on CatholicPhilly.com against Trump don’t change that fact.
You got that right, Joe.