On Wednesday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “NOW w/Alex Wagner,” Wagner and her guest Janet Murguia, the president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza, reacted to a protest in Murrieta, CA on Tuesday against the housing of illegal immigrants that are products of the influx of Central American youths in their community.
According to Wagner, this can be tied to anti-Hispanic hate crimes and she cited statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics as evidence.
“The sort of poisonous atmosphere is not just rhetorical. We are looking at an increase in Hispanic-targeted violence. The Bureau of Justice statistics reports hate crimes against Hispanics more than tripled from 2011 to 2012 and in part, because of increased tensions around the immigration reform debate and immigration in general. That I think is probably one of the most disturbing aspects of all of this, is the way this debate, which is fundamentally — I’ll be honest, emotional debate and one that cleaves people into different camps but that it would have a violent iteration for a lot of Americans is deeply distressing.”
Murguia reiterated Wagner’s point and insisted U.S. and international law be adhered to.
“It is distressing and disturbing,” Murguia said. “And in fact, we have seen this play out in different cycles before throughout this immigration debate. And when it intensifies, there’s a direct correlation between the vitriol and the appeal that some of those extremists make to the fears and to the unconscious prejudice that many people have. And when you start using terms that are dehumanizing and portraying these individuals in ways that are not reflective of us in a humanitarian view, then I think it all breaks down. Rhetoric does matter. Actions matter and we have to make sure that as Americans that we are understanding that there is a humanitarian situation. These are children who are escaping and going through a horrendous journey as José [Diaz-Balart] mentioned to get here. They are risking so much. Our response as Americans needs to be to make sure we’re honoring the process — the domestic and international laws that are applicable here and that’s all we’re asking for. We need to make sure those laws are honored.”
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