Latino people posing for camera looking grim, one man holding a sign that says #LetEdithStay We Stand with Edith

Edith Espinal surrounded by supporters

Why neo-Nazis love Trump’s immigration policy

Remember when Trump muttered those despicable words “There’s good people on both sides” after the white supremacists’ rally at Charlottesville in 2017? Recall their slogans: “Blood and Soil!” or, as Hitler preferred, “Blut und Boden.” Blood, of course, referred to the Nazi obsession with racial purity and bloodlines. Soil referred to a belief in settlement areas on borders controlled by the Germanic/Nordic races. The Blood and Soil canard went hand-in-hand with the Nazi concept of Lebensraum, or “living space.” Trump is using a new version of Nazi propaganda to try to instill fear of immigrant hordes taking away jobs and living space from his white male supporters.

The new breed of neo-Nazis has attached themselves to Trump’s neo-fascist border policies. In the year following the Charlottesville incident, the New York Times noted that “The number of hate groups in the U.S. rose for four years in a row, between 2014 and 2018.” The Times also found there had been a 30 percent jump in hate crimes since 2014. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) documents a rise in hate group activity directly correlated to Trump’s rhetoric surrounding immigrants.

Under the Obama administration, the total number of hate groups had fallen for three straight years prior to Trump’s 2016 campaign. The neo-Nazi Patriot Front, the dominant national group in the aftermath of Charlottesville, is using Trump’s horrific immigration policy to recruit. Thomas Rousseau, its young leader, utilizes a strategy to network together small neo-Nazi organizations and individuals through the internet, targeting Trump campaign supporters and militia groups. The goal is to force alt-right nationalists off the fence and into violent street action. The Patriot Front recently held a rally of nine in Dayton, Ohio but have been responsible for flyering campuses and neighborhoods all over the state, including here in Clintonville.

Recently, Trump’s acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan was forced to denounce his own border patrol’s Facebook site called “I’m 10-15” – the code for “aliens in custody.” Some of the most horrendous posts attacked Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC). One altered photo has her engaging in oral sex at an immigration detention center and another photoshopped graphic shows a smiling Donald Trump forcing AOC’s head toward his crotch with the words “That’s right, bitches. The masses have spoken and today democracy won.”

The disturbing picture of a drowned father and daughter had its authenticity challenged by a border agent: “…have y’all ever seen floaters this clean. I’m not trying to be an a$$ but I HAVE NEVER SEEN FLOATERS LIKE THIS, could this be another edited photo. We’ve all seen the dems and liberal parties do some pretty sick things…” An earlier 2018 federal investigation found migrants being referred to on the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) site as “wild ass shitbags,” “beaners,” and “subhuman.”

ICE ruins summer in Columbus

There’s been repercussions locally as well. A woman who works in downtown Columbus was on a Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) bus that drives the 4 route on High Street and had a strange encounter with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents. Three law enforcement officers, one wearing an ICE vest and one with a dog, boarded the bus. When she asked what they were looking for, they refused to answer. She asked the bus driver what was going on, and he told her he was told to comply with them. The agents forced her off the bus, searched her without a warrant and took some of her property. She was a U.S. citizen and ICE has no jurisdiction over her – but this doesn’t seem to matter in Trump’s America.

Buses have apparently been a tool for federal imposition into our lives for many years. Business Insider reported in 2012 that “The U.S. government is quietly installing sophisticated audio surveillance systems on public buses across the country to listen to conversations of passengers.” Columbus, Ohio was on their list of seven cities.

ICE operates offices on the fourth floor of the LeVeque tower where they process undocumented migrants. Immigrants, some accompanied by an attorney, wait indefinitely for their names to be called. They know there’s a possibility that their regular check-in date may turn into an unexpected deportation. Many carry a single suitcase, all that’s allowed by ICE.

Edith Espinal, currently in sanctuary at a local church to avoid deportation and separation from her daughters who are U.S. citizens, received a notice of a $497,777 fine from ICE in early July. ICE argues that the Immigration and Nationality Act gives it the right to impose these fines. But, this more reflects Trump’s absolute contempt for due process and the U.S. Constitution. Espinal is appealing her deportation before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. So, rather than allow the co-equal judicial branch to hear her appeal, Trump is arbitrarily fining her and other immigrants unprecedented amounts of money.

It’s these signals from Trump that give white supremacists, neo-Nazis, crypto-fascists and the alt-right hope for a Fourth Reich. Trump himself dreams of tanks, soldiers, bikers and cops defending his regime.

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