The Trump administration has declared war on the Latino community, affirmed by the recent revelation of a Department of Homeland Security memo that would turn National Guard troops into a deportation force. There may be denials about this memo becoming policy, but there is no denying that the memo exists and its intention is clear and purposeful: to show that the Trump administration has put a bullseye on 55 million Latinos.
We saw this reign of terror begin when DACA recipients were detained, and in the round-up of immigrants staying in church-run homeless shelters or seeking protection from domestic violence. We have seen it in the deportation of nonviolent, hardworking mothers and fathers who are leaving scores of children without parents. And these egregious incidents all involved trained immigration enforcement staff. For this administration to essentially mandate racial profiling and deploy the National Guard, who are armed troops with no training in how to enforce immigration laws, sends the clear message that if you look or sound Latino, you are a threat. You are not safe anywhere.
We are heartened by the diverse and bipartisan condemnation by members of Congress and Republican governors, among others, of this indecent, irresponsible, and completely unnecessary proposal. Indiscriminately targeting and terrorizing a community should be alarming to all Americans. It is a complete overreaction at a time when there is net zero migration from south of the border. It will put communities and businesses into chaos and destabilize economies.
There may be denials about this memo becoming policy, but there is no denying that the memo exists and its intention is clear and purposeful: to show that the Trump administration has put a bullseye on 55 million Latinos.
We have been down this road before. On the campaign trail, candidate Trump spoke positively about the Eisenhower administration’s Operation Wetback. That notorious program was abandoned for being rife with abuse, but not before thousands of American citizens were deported to Mexico. This is what happens when you make policy on a foundation of lies, misinformation, and bigotry.
Some may argue that putting all Latinos at risk is the price we have to pay for keeping Americans safe, which is nonsense. Making people fear law enforcement leads them to be reluctant to cooperate with them, and that is the real threat to public safety. America has never been a police state, and it should not start now.
President Trump, we are not collateral damage; we are millions of your constituents and millions of this country’s citizens. We are doctors, scientists, nurses, entrepreneurs, teachers, and small-business owners. We care for this country’s children and elderly. We help feed this nation. And we have served with distinction in our armed forces since the Revolutionary War. It’s long past time for you to recognize that.