Four days after President Trump called undocumented immigrants “animals,” the White House released a statement indicating administration officials have no regrets about it — in fact, quite the opposite.
Over the span of 10 paragraphs, the statement — entitled “WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIOLENT ANIMALS OF MS-13” — refers to MS-13 members as “animals” 10 times.
Read it for yourself:
White House: “WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIOLENT ANIMALS OF MS-13” pic.twitter.com/oxrimom8Qk
— Meridith McGraw (@meridithmcgraw) May 21, 2018
As is the case with the new White House statement, Trump often cherry-picks brutal crimes that MS-13 members have committed. But in reality, undocumented immigrants are no more likely to commit crimes than American citizens, and are actually less likely to be criminals in some cases.
Beyond crime stats, however, the White House’s effort to dehumanize particular groups of immigrants bears a disturbing similarly to the language used throughout history to justify violence against groups of people. As Nour Kteily, a professor studies the psychology of dehumanization and its consequences at Northwestern, told Vox, dehumanizing language like Trump’s “animals” characterization of MS-13 “justifies or even mandates violence.”