Immediately, both conservatives and liberals jumped to his defense on the basis of context, because he had previously been talking about the MS-13 gang. These justifications are hollow. Criminals are human; I grew up Catholic, then evangelical, so I can tell you I learned that one from Jesus. It’s also fruitless to analyze the words of a man who speaks in non-sequiturs, whose brain apparently functions at the level of images that remind him of other images. Coming from the person who has said repeatedly that immigrants are rapists and criminals, the “people coming into the country” are the same person. They deserve the same treatment. Animals, all.
I’ve spent the past couple of years writing a book about undocumented immigrants around the United States. I tell the stories of undocumented second-responders after 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy, day laborers on street corners and worker centers, South American housekeepers who came to feminism in middle age. I write about immigration because I think almost everyone who writes about immigrants gets it wrong. I’d know. My family is undocumented. I came to the United States when I was five years old and was undocumented until recently, when I became a permanent resident.