During a meeting with California law enforcement officials who support his immigration policy on May 16, President Donald Trump again called Latinx immigrants whom he associates with the gang MS-13 less than human, saying, “These aren’t people. These are animals.”
Today (May 21), the White House doubled down on his rhetoric—which many called out as racist—with an explainer called, “What You Need To Know About The Violent Animals Of MS-13.”
From that official White House document:
Too many innocent Americans have fallen victim to the unthinkable violence of MS-13’s animals.
Recent investigations have revealed MS-13 gang leaders based in El Salvador have been sending representatives into the United States illegally to connect the leaders with local gang members. These foreign-based gang leaders direct local members to become even more violent in an effort to control more territory.
President Trump’s entire Administration is working tirelessly to bring these violent animals to justice.
Meanwhile, teenagers of undocumented status have reported being falsely associated with the gang—a practice that shores up the school to deportation pipeline at their expense.
“Anyone that they can even remotely link to MS-13: They have a family member who was a gang member or they were seen sitting in class next to someone who was a gang member, they’re fair game,” said immigration lawyer Bryan Johnson.
He said he has dozens of clients, all immigrant high school students, who have been picked up by immigration and accused of gang membership.
“None of them have been convicted of crimes, keep that in mind,” Johnson said. “They have no criminal history. They never hurt anyone. They are from Central America and this administration is hunting them in the false name of public safety.”