Donald Trump presents “angel moms” to demonize undocumented immigrants
One of, if not the, most moving and heartfelt parts of this year’s Democratic National Convention took place when Black Lives Matter’s “Mothers of the Movement” took the stage and discussed their positive outlooks on the future, having experienced so much personal tragedy. More than a month later, to conclude his bizarre, directionless, and of course offensive immigration speech, the Republican nominee introduced his own unique twist on the “Mothers of the Movement” last week when Donald Trump presented “angel moms,” an unsubtle narrative meant to further demonize undocumented immigrants.
The “angel moms” Trump presented at his rally, who, FYI, have no relation whatsoever to AngelMoms.com, which Vox helpfully identified as “an organization founded in 2000 as support group for mothers who have lost their children to any cause,” shared their stories of how “illegal aliens” cost them their children.
“My son Ronald da Silva was murdered April 27, 2002 by an illegal alien who had been previously deported. And what makes me so outraged is that we came here legally. Thank you, Mr. Trump. I totally support you. You have my vote,” said an “angel mom,” an immigrant herself, to Trump’s audience.
“My cousin Rebecca Ann Johnston — known as Becky — was murdered on January the 1st, 1989, in north Little Rock, Arkansas,” another “angel mom” said, and passionately added: “If you don’t vote Trump, we won’t have a country. Trump all the way.”
Afterwards, Trump made a great show of embracing each woman before calling for Americans of all parties to come together in sweepingly blaming undocumented Mexican immigrants for every societal ill that plagues our nation: “Now is the time for all of us as one country — Democrat, Republican, liberal, conservative — to band together to deliver justice and safety and security for all Americans. Let’s fix this horrible, horrible problem. It can be fixed quickly.”
Unsurprisingly, it’s worth noting that Trump’s “angel moms” are affiliated with the Remembrance Project, a group founded in 2009 with the goal of making the public aware “of the epidemic of killings across the country, and raising awareness of the effects of illegal immigration.” The alt-right news outlet Breitbart similarly tracks the stories of “angel moms” offering the stories of victims of “illegal alien.”
Trump’s presentation of “angel moms” could hardly be less subtle in what it aims to accomplish: an antagonistic and fear-mongering portrayal of a whole group of people based on the alleged actions of some. The narrative not only undermines how objectively speaking, based on statistics, immigrants are far less likely to commit crimes, violent or otherwise, than native-born Americans, but was also a transparent jab at the “Mothers of the Movement,” who aligned with the Democratic party for frankly obvious reasons. After pretty much never acknowledging black lives targeted and killed by police, Trump presented his “angel moms” as if to identify native-born Americans as the real, singular victims, and the persecutor as not a systemically racist criminal justice system, but “illegal aliens.”
But even following this extremely biased and limited narrative, Trump and his supporters can’t ignore that one powerful difference divide his “angel moms” and Black Lives Matter’s “Mothers of the Movement.” There exists real, bipartisan evidence of African Americans experiencing discrimination in the criminal justice system and being disproportionately profiled and targeted by police; the same cannot be said of undocumented immigrants allegedly going after white, native-born Americans who should not be understood as victims in the immigration dialogue.
Trump sparked the frenzied, racist fire of his campaign by using the oldest play in the book of racist campaign strategy: blaming all of the problems predominantly perpetuated by a country’s native people on foreign “outsiders” seeking to come in. The truth is that violent crime, murder, gun violence, rape, and the job market are all posing problems in the nation. But a closer look will reveal that contrary to what Trump and his “angel moms” want American voters to believe, undocumented immigrants are not the reason.