A college senior and DACA recipient in Kentucky says she was made to live in fear after a fellow student posted photos of her Facebook profile on a racial hatred website, urging commentators to “report this illegal.”
Paola Garcia, a psychology major at Transylvania University in Lexington, said her life has been a nightmare ever since Taylor Ragg posted screenshots of her profile – which reads “undocumented, unapologetic, unafraid” in her bio — to a group called the 10th Crusade Enthusiasts.
“That night I received numerous messages on Facebook from members of that group, threatening me with ICE. Someone actually sent me pictures of him filling out a tip form to Homeland Security,” Paola said in a tearful video posted Sunday.
“I received messages like ‘I can’t wait ‘till your fucking cunt ass is gone, you and your n***** boyfriend need to leave’ and ‘Hope you enjoy your visit back to the dirt floors of your homeland, stinky ass.’”
Paola entered the country when she was two years old. Now twenty-one, she was a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy implemented under the Obama administration. The program allowed for individuals who entered the country as minors to receive renewable, two-year work permits, and let nearly 800,000 young people to work and study in the United States.
But on September 5, Trump ordered and end to the program and said the United States would begin phasing out its protections in six months. The announcement was greeted with glee by white nationalists, and emboldened the racist taunts that Paola had to suffer.
She took screenshots of her online abuse as evidence and passed it on to school administrators. But administrators claim Ragg’s actions didn’t violate the school’s non-discrimination policy since he only made a “recommendation” to his readers.
“It’s obvious that he did [violate the policy],” Paola says. “It just doesn’t make any sense to me how that was the conclusion. He’s inciting them to harass me.”
Transylvania University President Seamus Carey asked to meet with both students to discuss the impact that social media can have. The Lexington Herald Leader reported that Garcia attended the meeting but Ragg did not. When asked by the newspaper for a comment, he responded, “Lexington Herald Leader is Fake News”.
Ragg has since deleted his social media profiles, but a cached version of his Facebook shows him smiling gleefully in a MAGA hat. He also talked to the right-wing Liberty Conservative website, where he denied ever posting content to a white supremacist website and said he was looking for legal counsel.
“[In] most higher learning institutions of today…it is an atmosphere of liberal censorship pretty much everywhere,” he said. “That’s why it’s no shock to me that Carey is blatantly violating my fundamental rights and libeling me. If he isn’t concerned about immigration laws, why would he care about my first amendment rights?”
A video also purports to show him meeting with white nationalist leader Richard Spencer at a Libertarian conference earlier this year. Ragg is pictured in a MAGA hat, sitting next to Spencer with a group as they discuss libertarianism.
This isn’t the first time tensions at Transylvania University have simmered over. In April a 19-year-old with a history of protesting against alleged conservative mistreatment on campus was arrested after attacking two women with a machete.
ThinkProgress contacted Taylor Ragg to ask for his comments, but hasn’t heard back yet at the time this is published.
This piece has been updated with additional information about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy.