Felicia Persaud (26512)
Felicia Persaud

On Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, Stephen Miller, the former nutty adviser to Trumpeto and founder of the right-wing group America First Legal, tweeted that a vote for Democrats in the November 8th election is a vote for “crime, illegal immigration, inflation, gender indoctrination and child castration.”

His tweet came as baseball fans in California and Pennsylvania watching the playoffs recently, had to sit through commercial breaks that included racist, xenophobic ads filled with misleading and false claims, funded by Citizens for Sanity, whose board member is Miller. 

The ads are lies, much like those peddled about the stolen elections. “Joe Biden and his fellow Democrats have erased our southern border, and they have released a record number of illegal immigrants into the United States, all at your expense,” one of the ads states in part. “This giant flood of illegal immigration is draining your paychecks, wrecking your schools, ruining your hospitals, and threatening your family.” 

The right-wing rhetoric and the replacement theory push is on as we count down to Nov. 8th. In Mesa, Arizona, Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), claimed “Joe Biden’s 5 million illegal aliens are on the verge of replacing you, replacing your jobs and replacing your kids in school and, coming from all over the world, they’re also replacing your culture. And that’s not great for America.”

Sadly, like the rhetoric that led to the deadly Capitol riots of January 6th, the anti-immigrant rhetoric has reportedly led to murder in West Texas. Two brothers, including a former jail warden, are accused of shooting at a group of 8 Mexican immigrants on Sept. 27, killing Jesús Sepúlveda Martinez, 22, and injuring Berenice Casias Carrillo at a West Texas reservoir in Sierra Nevada.

Advocates, and Democratic lawmakers, including Beto O’Rourke—the challenger for the post of governor in Texas—all blame “hateful rhetoric” for the actions of twin brothers Mark Sheppard and Michael Sheppard, both 60.

Texas Ranger Juan Torez, in the affidavit written from accounts of several migrants, and from the Sheppard brothers, states that 13 migrants stopped to get water at the ranch reservoir and hid in the brush when they heard a truck coming. 

According to the affidavit, “The illegal immigrants stated they overheard one of the males shout something in Spanish to the effect of, ‘Come out you sons of bitches, little asses!’ then revved the engine of the truck.” Then, two shots rang out.

Later, the Border Patrol used surveillance footage to identify a truck on the road at the time of the shooting, which led them to its owner, Mike Sheppard.

The affidavit said Mike Sheppard initially denied being at the location of the shooting, but then later admitted he was. According to the affidavit, “[Mark] said they were looking for ducks then changed it to birds and then to javelina’s [sic]. Mark Sheppard told us he used binoculars and saw a ‘black butt’ thinking it was a javelina. Mark Sheppard told us Michael Sheppard exited the truck with a shotgun, leaned on the hood of the vehicle, and fired two rounds. Mark Sheppard told us he asked Michael Sheppard something to the effect of, ‘Did you get him?’ Mark Sheppard then changed ‘him’ to ‘it.’”

As authorities have kept tight-lipped about their investigation into the shooting, Democratic elected officials have said Republicans’ dehumanizing of immigrants contributed to the killing. 

They say that repeated calls by conservatives to label migrants as invaders and criminals have created an atmosphere that puts targets on the backs of those crossing the border. In the gubernatorial debate on Oct. 3, O’Rourke said Gov. Greg Abbott’s “hateful rhetoric” was responsible for the migrant’s death.

Advocates say it is a hate crime. “This is a hate crime that occurred immediately after they were crossing into the United States,” said Zoe Bowman, the supervising attorney at Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, who is representing the seven detained survivors.

U.S. Representative Veronica Escobar, a Democrat from El Paso, and 15 other members of Congress, have written to the U.S. Department of Justice, urging it to investigate the shooting as a hate crime. 

The letter noted, “This attack also comes at a time when once-fringe white supremacist propaganda is being embraced and regurgitated by Republican leadership, boosting resentment, hatred, and, in this case, violence against migrants.”

According to Mother Jones, Mike Sheppard has a history of racism and xenophobia. He was the warden at the West Texas Detention Facility, which used to house U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainees but now is a privately run prison. (LaSalle Corrections now runs the prison). He has reportedly had a history of accusations of racial animus. A 2018 report by the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) documented allegations of significant cases of abuse and racism directed at a group of 80 African inmates awaiting deportation for minor criminal offenses. Detainees accused him of punching a Black prisoner in the face four times, then repeatedly kicking him in the ribs while he was lying face down on the floor.

“Racial slurs by officers were also common, according to the men we interviewed,” the report said. “When one detainee asked for socks and underwear, Mike allegedly replied, ‘Shut your black ass up. You don’t deserve nothing. You belong at the back of that cage.’ The report said the warden also told another Black detainee, ‘Boy, I’m going to show you. You’re my bitch.’ And he reportedly told another, ‘Now you belong to me, boy.’”

Both men are in the Hudspeth County jail and will appear in virtual court on Oct. 27 for individual bond hearings as the rhetoric plays on and immigrants become walking targets for the MAGA maggots, dumb enough to believe that there is a sinister plan to literally “replace” native-born Americans with immigrants.

The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow.com – The Black Immigrant Daily News. 

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