They Prefer People to Die: On Trump, Borders, and Racism

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Feature image sourced via Creative Commons. Many are fleeing narco-governments that are complicit in their abuse. Border patrol agents regularly destroy and vandalize jugs of water that humanitarian groups leave out for migrants and refugees. In the Southwest desert, the extreme conditions are unrelenting. They do it because they prefer people die, their tongues bloated and purple. The cyanide-based Zyklon-B was later used in Nazi Germany’s gas chambers. I’ve watched recordings—they empty them out and laugh as they do it. They Prefer People to Die: On Trump, Borders, and Racism

By Gris Muñoz
June 23rd, 2018

Tornillo, Texas is the border farm town and international crossing where the Trump administration has created a tent city for migrant children. The process involved stripping people naked and spraying them down with cyanide-based Zyklon-B. This is the same president who recently called children seeking asylum “not that innocent.”
Seeking asylum is not a crime in the United States, though it is being treated as a criminal act. And some, I assume, are good people. She was persecuted for protesting being doused with a deadly chemical. ICE agents regularly terrorize brown neighborhoods, instilling a culture of fear and panic. After a decade of migrant farm work, my abuelos chose Tornillo to raise their children. There’s a thinly veiled white supremacy. Now our government is placing families in cages because it further breaks the spirit. A controversial billboard recently erected in the Texas panhandle advises travelers that liberals should just keep driving   until they leave the state. He eventually spoke, and when he did, he rose and gave us thanks and a blessing: “¡Gracias, Cheno! Tornillo is also the place where many migrant families eventually settled, including my paternal grandparents, Salvador and Margarita Muñoz. Pump gas in some of those farm towns. She was protesting a cruel policy. I think about Carmelita a lot. They’re rapists. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. Take a road trip through Texas. Signing an executive order to halt the separation of families is not enough. You see, a good man doesn’t leave someone to die in the desert, and when he uses God’s name, he does it to bless, not to kill. In his candidacy announcement video, he stated:
When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best; they’re not sending you. Recall, some families were united during Japanese internment. Her work has been published in Black Girl Dangerous, Bitch Media, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, and will be featured in the upcoming Third Woman Press inaugural anthology. Gris is currently commissioned to write the biography of acclaimed LA artist Fabian Debora. He’d been there for days, his tongue a bloated and purple thing spilling out of his mouth. Remember the man with the purple tongue my grandfather saw in the desert? When previously questioned by CNN’s Jim Acosta in regard to holding refugee children and families in tent cities, White House Spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed it was Biblical to enforce these inhumane laws. If they found lice on you, you had to bathe in kerosene and vinegar. Women in Mexico and Central America are being kidnapped, trafficked, and murdered by the thousands. ¡Que Dios te lo pague!” He later left in search of his family, wearing new clothes and carrying a satchel filled with cured meats and supplies. Well-meaning Americans say, “This is not us.” But the America here has long been one of hate and brutality. But government policy never has seen humanity in marginalized people. These are our neighbors; their children attend neighborhood schools. In 2017, Trump pardoned Sheriff Joe Arpaio, infamous for his inhumane treatment of inmates in his tent city in Maricopa County, Arizona. Gris Muñoz is a frontera poet, performer, essayist, and fiction writer. It’s a war tactic; sadness makes the soul pliable. Just like kicking buckets of water. More from this author → Temperatures can regularly surpass one-hundred degrees for weeks at a time. My mother often retells a family story about how her father, a vaquero, once encountered a dehydrating man strewn in the desert. After widespread criticism of his administration’s policy of separating children from their mothers, President Trump has signed an executive order halting family separation. They dropped water into his mouth every few hours and draped him in damp towels. They’re bringing crime. Even in Texas’s most progressive districts, landowners, elected representatives, and school boards remain overwhelmingly Anglo. Families in cages are still being treated inhumanely. The issue is not only centered around refugees. He didn’t die. The law of the land. In 1917, a Juarense named Carmelita Torres was arrested along with several women, for instigating what is historically called, “The Juarez Bath Riots.” The “riots” were actually a response to the US government policy of delousing every Mexican or Central American worker who crossed the border. The heat in the desert surrounding El Paso County is surpassed by only one area in the Southwest: Death Valley. Stores around here used to hang signs that read “No Negros, No Dogs, No Mexicans.” The signs are down now, but that doesn’t mean that racial tension is gone. Denying help. Denying humanity. They wanted stability after years of following the fields and seasons throughout the Southwest: California, Arizona, New Mexico. He flaunted his hate, and American voters overwhelmingly showed up at the polls in support. Trump’s racism was outwardly part of his campaign platform. It is one of many small historic settlements alongside the Rio Grande near my hometown of El Paso, Texas. Brown women’s bodies are always on the front lines of violence. We gave the Nazis ideas. It’s area stretching up from Arizona to parts of eastern California. My grandmother and aunts nursed him back to health. She is the author of the forthcoming collection Coatlicue Girl. They’re bringing drugs. The president pardoned Arpaio and then chose a portrait of Andrew Jackson to hang in the Oval Office. My grandfather pulled him onto his horse and took him into his own home. Jackson, responsible for the Indian Removal Act of 1830, is widely known among indigenous and First Nations peoples as a sanguinary mass-murderer whose policy led to the Trail of Tears and the massacre of thousands of Natives. Denying life. They’re experiencing it in their own communities. Many detainees have been living and working in the United States peacefully. If you stayed longer than eight days, you were deloused again. According to the Houston Chronicle, “In 1937, a German scientist named Gerhard Peters wrote an article for a science journal touting the effectiveness of Zyklon-B as an agent for killing unwanted pests.” That’s the brutality of our hatred in America. My mom was a girl then, but she says she remembers how daily, the man’s tongue started getting smaller and lighter, until one morning it was tiny and somehow folded back into his mouth. She lives in El Paso, Texas. My mother’s family lived on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande across from Tornillo, long before any walls or fences. Later, Jeff Sessions read Romans 13, a Bible passage Nazis also referenced to justify the Holocaust. Well-meaning activists keep advocating for the current administration to see the humanity in brown people.