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Recent attacks on immigrants tell us who we are

Created: 10 July, 2009
Updated: 13 September, 2023
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3 min read

Guest Editorial:

We need to speak out against the ugliness that is fueling anti-immigrant violence and taking lives.

 The most recent example of how far some anti-immigrant people have gone is the home invasion-murder of Raul Flores and his 9-year old daughter, Brisenia, in Arizona on May 30.

 Two of the three people charged with the murders have connections with an anti-immigrant group.

 Shawna Forde actually founded the Minutemen American Defense (MAD) after being ousted by the more well-known Minutemen Civil Defense Corps. Her organization’s website issued a statement that said, “Shawna acted totally on her own personal agenda and has caused a lot of pain, embarrassment, and humiliation to the total Minuteman movement and fellow members of MAD.”

 The continuing anti-immigrant rhetoric, fueled by politicians, vigilantes, and political pundits, has created an atmosphere where killing immigrants is acceptable.

 Take, for example, the death of 25-year-old Luis Ramirez in Shenandoah, Pa., last July. Ramirez, an undocumented worker from Mexico and father of two, was brutally beaten by white teenagers, eventually dying from a kick to the head. At least one of the teenagers had used a racial epithet against Ramirez. Nevertheless, a jury refused to convict the teenagers of murder, bringing in a conviction only on the charge of simple assault.

 Last year, another group of teenagers murdered Ecuadoran immigrant Marcelo Lucero in Patchogue, N.Y. The teens reportedly said that they were looking to “beat up some Mexicans.”

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 The Shawna Forde case you might be able to write off as the action of a crazed vigilante. But these teenagers?

 Many of them are high school athletes, earn good grades and are popular. They don’t seem like monsters.

 But their actions are monstrous, and they make me fear for the future of this nation.

 What kind of nation are we that permits fear to rule?

 What kind of nation are we that can treat other human beings as less than human, expendable and not worthy of justice?

 What kind of nation are we that allows our youth to stalk and kill others for being “different”?

 What kind of nation are we that turns away at the sight of the countless insults, injuries, racial epithets, and other daily inhumanities faced by immigrants in this country?

 It’s time that we take the anti-immigrant rhetoric and its fear-mongering leaders for what they are — not protectors of this nation but destroyers.

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 It’s time we demand justice for the murdered and insist that our politicians make real, relevant changes to improve our lives.

 It’s time we stop blaming immigrants for the ills of our economy and our nation and look instead at what big business and government are doing to create the problems that plague us.

 It’s time we look in the mirror and decide who we want to be, and what we want America to be.

 I hope we choose to be moral individuals and a caring nation, not cruel people of a callous country.

pmproj@progressive.org.

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