Washington D.C., Aug 9, 2019 / 15:16 pm
Leaders of the U.S. bishops’ conference on issues of immigration and racism denounced xenophobic and dehumanizing language in the United States, warning that it fosters discrimination and hatred.
“The tragic loss of life of 22 people this weekend in El Paso demonstrates that hate-filled rhetoric and ideas can become the motivation for some to commit acts of violence,” the bishops said.
“The anti-immigrant, anti-refugee, anti-Muslim, and anti-Semitic sentiments that have been publicly proclaimed in our society in recent years have incited hatred in our communities.”
The statement was issued Aug. 8 by Bishop Joe Vásquez of Austin, head of the U.S. bishops’ migration committee; Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice, Florida, chair of the domestic social development committee; and Bishop Shelton Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, head of the ad hoc committee against racism.
On Saturday Aug. 3, an armed man opened fire at a shopping complex in El Paso, Texas, killing 22 and injuring more than two dozen, according to police reports. The suspect is in custody.
The shooter reportedly published a four-page document online in the hours before the attack, detailing his hatred toward immigrants and Hispanics. He also reportedly described the weapons he would use in the shooting. Police said he appeared to have been targeting Latinos during the attack.
Following the shooting, critics quickly turned their attention to President Donald Trump, noting that the suspect’s manifesto had echoed some of his language, such as characterizing immigrants as an “invasion.” They also denounced the president’s derogatory comments aimed at cities and countries with large black populations, and his suggestion that four Democratic congresswomen of color “go back” to their home countries, despite their being U.S. citizens.
“Donald Trump has created plenty of space for hate,” said presidential hopeful Senator Elizabeth Warren. “He is a racist. He has made one racist remark after another. He has put in place racist policies. And we've seen the consequences of it.”