2015-12-24 14:07:39 UTC
Monday, Dec 21, 2015 3:27 PM UTC
The media needs to stop telling this lie about Donald Trump. Iâm a Sanders supporter â and value honesty
Trump's words on Mexicans have been misconstrued by all sides. This liberal, Puerto Rican professor says enough
Alberto A. Martinez http://www.salon.com/?post_type=writer&p=14290300
Itâs time to start cleaning up the mess of misinterpretations about Donald Trump.
Back in June, I first saw Mr. Trump announcing his candidacy for president. What he said about unauthorized immigrants seemed ridiculous so I laughed. I showed the video to friends, and I laughed again. His words were poorly chosen.
But something worse happened. People interpreted Trumpâs words in the most awful and offensive ways.
In one of my courses, at the University of Texas at Austin, I asked my students: âWhat has Donald Trump said that you found most offensive?â One student raised her hand high: âHe said that all Mexicans are rapists.â I asked a coworker the same question. He replied: âHe said that all Mexican immigrants are rapists.â
I explained that Trump said no such thing. This is what Trump said:
âWhen do we beat Mexico at the border? Theyâre laughing at us, at our stupidity. [âŠ] When Mexico sends its people theyâre not sending their best. Theyâre not sending you; theyâre not sending you. Theyâre sending people that have lots of problems, and theyâre bringing those problems with us. Theyâre bringing drugs. Theyâre bringing crime. Theyâre rapists, and some, I assume, are good people. But I speak to border guards and they tell us what weâre getting.â
You might well dislike Trumpâs words. I did. But letâs not make it worse. He did not say that all Mexicans are rapists. Yet thatâs what many commentators did. For example, Politico misquoted Trump by omitting his phrase about âgood people.â They said he was âdemonizing Mexicans as rapists.â They argued that Mexicans do not really commit more rapes in the U.S. than whites. But thatâs not what Trump claimed.
Similarly, other news sources misrepresented his words in offensive ways:
The New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/27/opinion/sunday/donald-trump-and-the-rise-of-the-moral-minority.html?_r=0: âTrumpâs claim that illegal Mexican immigrants are ârapists.â
Time http://time.com/4050914/1965-immigration-act-pew/ Magazine: âTrumpâs comment that Mexican immigrants are ârapists.ââ
Associated Press http://bigstory.ap.org/article/8fb9556f269e49e7818981f457a0f592/ap-gfk-poll-republicans-view-donald-trump-most-electable: âTrump called Mexican immigrants rapists and criminalsâ
CBS News http://www.cbsnews.com/news/election-2016-donald-trump-defends-calling-mexican-immigrants-rapists/: âTrump defends calling Mexican immigrants ârapists.ââ
L.A. Times: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/tv/showtracker/la-et-st-donald-trump-saturday-night-live-host-20151026-story.html âdescribing Mexican immigrants as ârapists.ââ
Fortune http://fortune.com/2015/10/31/donald-trump-hosting-snl-u-s-politics/: âin a speech branding Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists.â
Hollywood Reporter http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/donald-trump-talks-nbc-univision-837940: âhe referred to Mexican immigrants as ârapists.ââ
Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/9-outrageous-things-donald-trump-has-said-about-latinos_55e483a1e4b0c818f618904b: âHe called Latino immigrants âcriminalsâ and ârapists.ââ
The Washington Post https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/its-not-chaos-its-trumps-campaign-strategy/2015/12/09/9005a5be-9d68-11e5-8728-1af6af208198_story.html: âHe referred to Mexicans as ârapists.â
Compare such words with Trumpâs words. Which is worse? Writers excerpted the phrase: âtheyâre rapists,â as if it were about all Mexican unauthorized immigrants, or worse, about all Mexican immigrants, or even worst, about all Mexicans. But thatâs not what he said. Thatâs not what he meant. It was just a remark about some of the criminals crossing the border.
The trick for misrepresenting Trumpâs words can be used against anyone.
For example, on October 7, at a Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton answered the question: âWhich enemy are you most proud of?â She replied: âIn addition to the NRA, um, the health insurance companies, the drug companies, um, the Iranians.â
If you do to her what the media did to Trump, then you should believe that Hillary Clinton is proud to be the enemy of 77 million citizens of Iran, plus millions more living outside Iran, including mothers, children, and disabled people. But thatâs not what she meant.
On November 6, at the MSNBC Democratic Candidates Forum, Bernie Sanders said: âwe have to pass a constitutional amendment that everyone in America who is 18 years old or older is registered to vote.â He said everyone. Someone might then write: âHe proposed that everyone who is in the U.S. should vote, everyone who is 18, even illegal immigrants, tourists, and terrorists.â But thatâs not what he meant.
It is no wonder that many people think the media is grossly dishonest. No wonder Mr. Trumpâs critiques of the media make his followers cheer.
Trump was discussing crimes committed by unauthorized immigrants. Is it true that some people who illegally cross the border from Mexico are good? Yes. Is it true that some others commit crimes? Yes. Is that a problem? People disagree. Some conjecture that unauthorized immigrants donât commit more crimes than U.S. citizens. But crimes by unauthorized immigrants, even murders, would not have happened if those individuals had not entered the U.S.
Time for a disclosure. I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. Spanish is my first language. I voted for Obama. I live in liberal Austin, Texas, where I work as a tenured professor of history. Iâve never voted for a Republican. My preferred candidate for U.S. president would be Elizabeth Warren. Since she is not running, my preferred candidate is Bernie Sanders.
Anyhow, discussions about illegal immigration are ruined by lack of data. I asked my friends, university faculty: âHow many people do you think are deported per year in the U.S.?â
One of my friends guessed 3,000. Another guessed 10,000. Another guessed 50,000âwhich would really be a lot of people, imagine.
Actually, in fiscal year 2014, the U.S. deported a total of 893,238 https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/dhs-releases-end-year-statistics foreigners! Thatâs a huge number. It includes 577,295 deported by the Department of Homeland Security, plus 315,943 deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Among the latter, 2,802 were classified as suspected or confirmed gang members.
Since 1990, the average is 1.2 million deportations per year. The highest in U.S. history https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/table39_0.xls was 1.86 million foreigners deported in the year 2000. Thatâs astonishing.
How many were criminals?
We donât know because most criminals are not caught. Plus, many who are accused are not convicted because of a lack of evidence. Still, in 2014, the U.S. deported 177,960 convicted criminals. Surprisingly, 91,037 https://www.ice.gov/removal-statisticswere already convicted criminals before they even entered the U.S.
At the University of Texas at Austin, the football stadium can seat 100,119 people. I have seen it full. Iâve see more than 100,000 people at onceâitâs an incredible sight. Itâs a staggering swarm of people. I have seen them yelling all at once.
It is utterly astonishing to me that this stadium would fail to seat all the convicted criminals deported in a single year.
Back to Mr. Trump. Did he unfairly single out Mexicans when complaining about crimes by unauthorized immigrants?
By far, most Mexicans are good people. However, since Mexico shares a large frontier with the U.S., and many Mexicans face economic hardships, most of the reported illegal immigration into the U.S. is from Mexico. Accordingly, in recent years roughly 76% of criminal unauthorized immigrants https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/table41d.xls are from Mexico.
What kinds of crime? It is strangely difficult to find national statistics on homicides, sexual assaults, and thefts, by unauthorized immigrants. But there is relevant data for some states.
The Texas Department of Public Safety identified 207,076 https://minutemanproject.com/3089-homicides-by-illegal-immigrants-since-2008-in-texas/ foreign aliens who were booked into Texas county jails from October 2008 through August 1, 2014. Their term âforeign aliensâ includes both foreigners who are in Texas legally and foreigners who entered illegally. They were accused of 357,884 crimes in those 70 months, including these charges: 4,413 terroristic threats, 60,973 robberies and larcenies, 6,636 vehicle thefts, 78,682 assaults, 12,869 sexual assaults and offenses, 1,113 kidnapping, and 3,089 homicides.
That includes, an average of 1,383 charges of sexual assaults per year, in Texas alone. The real number of rapes and sexual assaults is larger since many victims do not report these crimes. According to the National Crime and Victimization Survey, 2008-2012, approximately 68% https://rainn.org/get-information/statistics/reporting-rates of sexual assault crimes are not reported. So I estimate that foreigners commit roughly 4,000 sexual assaults in Texas each year.
In Texas, roughly 529 foreigners per year were accused of committing murder. Plus, the FBI reports that 36% http://www.npr.org/2015/03/30/395069137/open-cases-why-one-third-of-murders-in-america-go-unresolved of homicides nationwide remain unsolved.
These crime rates are staggering and offensive. None of the women and men who were killed in by unauthorized immigrants in Texas would have died if the murderers had not entered the U.S. illegally.
These are not just words. Pause for a moment to think about a Texas woman whose husband was murdered one night. Think about parents who never saw their son again because he was murdered. Think of the thousands of families standing at the cemeteries.
Iâve only summarized murders and sexual assaults. Consider drugs and drug violence. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, most illegal drugs come from Mexico, including most cocaine and heroine. Most methamphetamines also are smuggled from Mexico. The 2015 National Drug Threat Survey finds that methamphetamines are the drugs that most contribute to property crimes and violent crimes. You get the point. There are tremendous problems of drugs, murders, and rapes caused at the porous border.
Without knowing the data, it was easy to be offended by Mr. Trumpâs crude words when he announced his candidacy. However, seeing the data above, I understand his concerns.
Hereâs what Trump said right after his words quoted above:
âAnd it only makes common sense, it only makes common sense: theyâre sending us not the right people, and itâs coming from more than Mexico, itâs coming from all over South and Latin America, and itâs coming probably, probably from the Middle East. But we donât know because we have no protection, and we have no competence. We donât know whatâs happening. And itâs gotta stop. And itâs gotta stop fast.â
We can disagree about some points. Is the Mexican government really sending criminals to the U.S.? On July 5, Trump said: âThe Mexican Government is forcing their most unwanted people into the United States. They are, in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc.â This claim might be false if Mexico does not intentionally send criminals to the US. At its best, this statement seems plausible if Trump meant that conditions generated in Mexico by its government lead some criminals to the U.S.
In any case, Trump proposes to secure the southern border by implementing various security measures. His most recurring proposal is to build a wall, along areas of the border lacking natural barriers.
His proposal has been widely criticized. Some people construed it as a sign of racism, xenophobia, etc. However, I can understand why many of Trumpâs followers actually cheer: âBuild the Wall! Build the Wall!â
First, there are the worries about murders, drugs, crimes, and terrorism. Presently, countless many unauthorized immigrants walk into the country, unchecked. In fiscal year 2014, the Border Patrol made 468,407 apprehensions along the southwest border. By comparison, the Border Patrol only made 18,244 apprehensions in all other regions.
But one point sticks in my mind. Namely this: there already exist a long series of fences and walls between Mexico and the U.S. These fences and walls span parts of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. As of early 2012, the Department of Homeland Security had completed 652 miles of fences and walls. Trump did not build all that. It was mandated by Congress. Walls are common along many countriesâ borders, such as Spain, China, France, Greece, Pakistan, Israel, etc. The border between the U.S. and Mexico spans roughly 1,950 miles. Trump wants a wall that will be 1,000 miles long, including areas already covered.
Iâm not trying to convince you about a wall. My point is just that itâs neither impossible nor ridiculous. A main reason why many border areas have fences instead of walls is just that walls are more expensive.
Trump says that everyone who didnât enter the U.S. legally should return to their countries. âThey have to go.â We might well disagree. But his view is closer to Immigration law. If you prefer amnesty then lawmakers have to create a law to that effect. Trump insists: âI want people to come in, but they have to come in legally.â
Regardless, countless many people think that Trump is racist against Mexicans. I suggest that anyone who thinks that should count how many times Trump has praised Mexicans.
Most unauthorized immigrants are good people. But still, the media wrongly blamed Mr. Trump for their own misrepresentations.
More Alberto A. Martinez.