Trump encourages a culture of dangerous extremism.
Gun-toting groups of vigilantes are prowling the southern border and harassing migrant families — and they say that Trump’s fake declaration of a "national emergency" is inspiring their lawless actions.
“We are simply there because President Trump declared a national emergency on the border,” said Jim Benvie, a spokesman for one such group, in a Facebook video posted on Tuesday night. “We are sitting here right now, and we’re doing what we need to do.”
But all these groups are doing is wearing military-style uniforms and carrying weapons like AR-15 assault rifles while engaging in unauthorized “patrols” of the U.S.-Mexico border.
In some videos posted online, the militia members have misrepresented themselves to migrants as police, or yelled out “Pistola, pistola” (gun, gun) to groups of Spanish-speaking migrants as a threat to make them stop.
“These groups are George Zimmerman on steroids,” George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley told the Washington Post, referring to the right-wing vigilante who murdered Florida teenager Trayvon Martin with a gun in 2012.
The groups have decided to take the law into their own hands after listening to Trump's racist lies about how Latin American families seeking asylum are "invading" America.
Trump has ramped up this dangerous rhetoric to promote his racist border wall, and declared a fake national emergency to make it sound like the wall was urgently needed. In reality, however, the declaration was just an attempt to divert taxpayer funds to his pet project after Congress refused to appropriate money for it.
One militia leader is a convicted felon who was recently arrested on weapons charges, and who claimed in a YouTube interview that he was in contact with the Trump White House. In that interview, he also traced his actions back to Trump’s border rhetoric.
Migrants already are facing considerable hardship on their journeys, including the threat that Trump will steal their children once they reach America — a practice the Trump administration has continued despite promising to stop.
Now Trump is riling up a bunch of armed, untrained, and potentially disturbed people who are eager to cause trouble.
Trump is fanning the flames of a dangerous situation that could get innocent people hurt or killed.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.