Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump traveled to Mexico City on Aug. 31 at the invitation of Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto. Both Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton had been invited. Only Trump accepted and at the last minute.
The purpose of Trump’s trip was not clear, but most pundits agreed that it was an attempt by the Trump campaign to try to position the nominee as “presidential” and “stately” as possible. In reality, the meeting became nothing more than a photo op.
But upon Trump’s return to the U.S., where was his first stop? None other than Phoenix, where he spoke the same night on immigration policy.
Arizona has become ground zero for the anti-immigrant campaign that has swept the U.S. since 2006. It was in Arizona where racist, Nazi-like rhetoric and actions against migrants began.
Not only were immigrants and other prisoners treated viciously and dehumanized by infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio, but a horrible anti-Latinx climate exists in Arizona that includes the shutdown of Mexican-American studies in universities and even banning books written by Latinxs.
Arpaio is a right-wing law enforcement official in the mold of racist, brutal sheriffs like Bull Connor, who bashed Civil Rights demonstrators in Alabama in the mid-1960s.
Arpaio not only endorsed Trump for president, he was a featured speaker at the Republican National Convention.
During the mid-to-late-2000s, right-wing militias like the Minutemen invaded the U.S.-Mexico border, militarizing it even further. They created a dangerous, hateful, racist presence with the approval of Arpaio and other law enforcement agencies.
In fact, Arizona was one of the last states to recognize the Martin Luther King Holiday. First, it rescinded Martin Luther King Day, setting off a massive boycott in 1987, and then, only voted to revive the holiday in 1992 because plans to hold the Super Bowl in Phoenix were jeopardized.
So it was no coincidence that racist, fascist demagogue Donald Trump chose Phoenix for his first stop after Mexico City.
There he gave a major immigration policy speech. Press accounts called it “the most hard-lined speech on immigration from any candidate in modern times.” (MSNBC)
Journalist Dan Rather on the Rachel Maddow Show on Sept. 1 said Trump’s speech was “a hellish mix of vituperative venom.”
And that it was. Halting immigration, along with a racist vilification of Mexicans, has been a cornerstone of Trump’s campaign. On day one he succeeded in getting the attention of every racist individual who resents immigrants when he called all Mexicans coming into the U.S. “rapists” and “criminals.”
Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric was so violent last week that some of his “Hispanic” supporters abandoned him right afterwards. Yes, Trump has support from conservative and colonized Mexicans, many who are owners of businesses or are from the conservative evangelical community.
Part of Trump’s plan was his chilling announcement that he would deport 2 million workers in the first hour of his presidency. Immigrant activists immediately issued an alert against this dangerous rhetoric.
Trump still demands a wall be built on the Mexico-U.S. border. He continues to shout out at his rallies “WHO WILL PAY FOR IT,” with the audience screaming in response, “Mexico, Mexico!”
Trump galvanizes racists
All indications are that despite the unpopularity of Hillary Clinton, the powers that be from Washington and Wall Street prefer her as the best candidate to carry out their wars abroad and repression and exploitation at home. Despite posturing to the Left at times in order to court the Sanders supporters, Clinton is totally aligned with the capitalist agenda of war, racism and repression.
And the anti-immigrant policies that are being carried out today are being done under a Democratic President. President Barack Obama has deported more immigrants than any other U.S. president to date.
Even if Donald Trump loses the election, he has succeeded in opening up divisions in the working class and has galvanized racists and white supremacists. He has tasted the power of a demagogue and has been correctly compared to Hitler and Mussolini.
Someone like that, as well as his incited supporters, are not likely to just disappear on Nov. 9. Trump and his ilk are likely to continue with their vitriolic and racist propaganda that will be directed again against migrants. They will be free to target the Black community, which during the election season Trump has tried to use against the undocumented.
From Oct. 7 to 10, the School of the Americas Watch has called for a convergence on the U.S.-Mexico border. SOAW has held demonstrations annually for decades at the school that trains Latin American military officers, now at Fort Benning, Ga., to protest the U.S. military role in Latin America and the Caribbean.
This year, in a very progressive act, SOAW is calling for this convergence at the U.S.-Mexico border as a protest of the militarization of the border and in solidarity with migrants.
The Border Convergence will take place in Nogales, Ariz., and will hold an action on the Mexico side in Sonora. (soaw.org)
The Moorehead/Lilly Presidential Campaign plans to attend the convergence and send representatives. It urges the progressive and working-class movement to support this important action as it is a concrete way in this election year to counter Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric.