President Trump is seeking to tie any legislation that would tackle the ongoing crisis of mass shootings and white nationalist terror groups with immigration reform. He’s correct, though not for the reason we believe he has in mind.
“Over the past five years, various right-wing extremists, including militias and white supremacists, have adopted the immigration issue as a call to action, rallying point and recruiting tool. Debates over appropriate immigration levels and enforcement policy generally fall within the realm of protected speech under the First Amendment, but in some cases, anti-immigration or strident pro-enforcement fervor has been directed against specific groups and has the potential to turn violent.”
The above is from a report by the U.S Department of Homeland Security entitled “Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.” Which shows the government is ahead of the curve and tackling the issue of white nationalist terror groups, right?Wrong, because the report was completed in 2009. That’s right; we’ve known about the growing problem of white supremacy for a decade and done nothing about it.
Since the completion of that report, this nation has experienced 113 mass shootings, leaving 765 dead and 1,171 wounded.
By the way, that’s 349 more dead right here in America than soldiers killed during the first nine years of America’s involvement in Vietnam — under Eisenhower and Kennedy — before American involvement was escalated after Johnson won election.
Not all the mass shootings in the last decade are the result of white nationalist terrorism — there was the radicalized Islamic couple in San Bernardino, Calif., who killed 16 and wounded 22; dozens of incidences of disgruntled employees seeking revenge for termination; domestic violence incidents; and the mentally unstable Sandy Hook Elementary killer, who killed 28 children and teachers.
However, too many of the mass shootings are the result of an emboldened group of white nationalists, such as a shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, a shooting at a Jewish community center in Kansas, a shooting at a predominantly black Methodist-Episcopal church in South Carolina, a shooting at a Black Lives Matter protest in Minnesota, a shooting at a gay nightclub in Florida and the most recent at a mall in Texas.
The president has vilified immigrants — specifically those of color and non-Christians — as a way to gin up political support; but, despite that immoral motivation, we believe he is correct in trying to force immigration reform in with any action regarding the terror attacks by white nationalists. That’s because, as the report outlines, immigration is a dog whistle to these terrorists.
Comprehensive immigration reform, including addressing the millions of undocumented aliens already here and getting Dreamers on a path to citizenship, is long overdue and may just take a little bit of the wind out of the sails of the white nationalist terrorists.
Hopefully, both sides of the aisle can come together and agree to tackle the issue taking a common-sense approach, as well as craft a plan for ferreting out and dealing with these domestic terrorists.
While we’re wishing for unlikely scenarios, can we also put in another request? Can we ask that, perhaps, our president stop using rhetoric that enflames his white nationalist base? You know, things like saying anyone coming from Mexico, Central or South America is part of an “invasion”; that anyone from those areas is a “murderer” a “drug dealer” or a “rapist”; that there are “very fine people on both sides” when dealing with white supremacy; and using Twitter to attack black and Hispanic Democratic opponents, calling for them to leave the country.
Maybe if Congress actually did its job and enacted common-sense immigration reform, and our president stopped using language publicly supported by the Klan and other racist groups, white supremacist terrorists might feel a little less emboldened to go out and kill innocent people.