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Sick fantasies being used to justify real atrocities

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MCALLEN, TX – JUNE 12: A two-year-old Honduran asylum seeker cries as her mother is searched and detained near the U.S.-Mexico border on June 12, 2018 in McAllen, Texas. The asylum seekers had rafted across the Rio Grande from Mexico and were detained by U.S. Border Patrol agents before being sent to a processing center for possible separation. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is executing the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy towards undocumented immigrants. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions also said that domestic and gang violence in immigrants’ country of origin would no longer qualify them for political asylum status. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Donald Trump put on an particularly disgusting display today, using murder victims to speciously justify his administration’s heinous immigration policies. For example:

As at Friday’s event, when he waved away the demonstrable fact that immigrants commit fewer crimes by saying: “You’ve heard that, fellas, right? You’ve heard that. I hear it so much, and I say, ‘Is that possible?’ ”

Well, he said: “The answer is it’s not true.”

It is.

Later on, though, Trump cited a statistic of his own.

“Sixty-three thousand Americans since 9/11 have been killed by illegal aliens. This isn’t a problem that’s going away; it’s getting bigger,” he said. “Sixty-three thousand, and that number they say is very low because things aren’t reported. Sixty-three thousand, and you don’t hear about that.”

No, you don’t. Because it’s demonstrably not true, and it wends its way back to a blog post from 2005 written by none other than Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).

You will be shocked to discover that the data cited by white supremacist Donald Trump from white supremacist Steve King’s blog is completely made-up horseshit!

Krugman is on point:

What’s almost equally remarkable about this plunge into barbarism is that it’s not a response to any actual problem. The mass influx of murderers and rapists that Trump talks about, the wave of crime committed by immigrants here (and, in his mind, refugees in Germany), are things that simply aren’t happening. They’re just sick fantasies being used to justify real atrocities.

[…]

True, if we look across America there is a correlation between violent crime and the prevalence of undocumented immigrants — a negative correlation. That is, places with a lot of immigrants, legal and undocumented, tend to have exceptionally low crime rates. The poster child for this tale of un-carnage is the biggest city of them all: New York, where more than a third of the population is foreign-born, probably including around half a million undocumented immigrants — and crime has fallen to levels not seen since the 1950s.

And this really shouldn’t be surprising, because criminal conviction data show that immigrants, both legal and undocumented, are significantly less likely to commit crimes than the native-born.

So the Trump administration has been terrorizing families and children, abandoning all norms of human decency, in response to a crisis that doesn’t even exist.

Where does this fear and hatred of immigrants come from? A lot of it seems to be fear of the unknown: The most anti-immigrant states seem to be places, like West Virginia, where hardly any immigrants live.

But virulent hatred for immigrants isn’t just a matter of rural rubes. Trump himself is, of course, a wealthy New Yorker, and a lot of the funding for anti-immigrant groups comes from foundations controlled by right-wing billionaires. Why do wealthy, successful people end up hating immigrants? I sometimes find myself thinking about the TV commentator Lou Dobbs, whom I used to know and like in the early 2000s, but who has become a rabid anti-immigrationist (and Trump confidant), and who is currently warning against a pro-immigrant plot by “the Illuminati of K Street.”

I don’t know what drives such people — but we’ve seen this movie before, in the history of anti-Semitism.

The thing about anti-Semitism is that it was never about anything Jews actually did. It was always about lurid myths, often based on deliberate fabrications, that were systematically spread to engender hatred.

And this was the basis of his campaign from day 1. It’s how he captured the nomination. This is what he’s always been — a racist conspiracy theorist.

We should conclude with one of Krugman’s greatest colleague subtweets ever:

No, the real crisis is an upsurge in hatred — unreasoning hatred that bears no relationship to anything the victims have done. And anyone making excuses for that hatred — who tries, for example, to turn it into a “both sides” story — is, in effect, an apologist for crimes against humanity.

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