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Latinos And Others Find Trump's Offensive Twitter Language Not Unusual

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

This past week, President Trump took to Twitter to attack California's sanctuary laws using infested and breeding, words more commonly associated with pests than people. To get reaction from the Latino community in California, we're joined now by Pilar Marrero, a writer at the Spanish language daily La Opinion in LA. Welcome to the program.

PILAR MARRERO: Thank you for having me.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So in a long line of Trump's offensive language about Latinos and other brown and black people, did this tweet stand out to you?

MARRERO: Actually, not particularly because this has been a constant for President Trump, even before he was president. As we all remember, the day he launched his candidacy, he started calling out Mexicans and people who crossed the border. They're a bunch of rapists and narco traffickers. Although, I must say his use of the word breeding and crime-infested was particularly nasty. And it is tied to language that has been used historically to dehumanize particular groups of people.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: You write about Trump for the Latino community. How are these comments being viewed by Latinos more widely?

MARRERO: Not well. Many families are mixed and have people who are citizens and legal residents and may have someone who's out of status for some reason. And there's a lot of people who, you know, may employ or may be close to folks who are immigrants. And, yeah, everyone's fearful, obviously.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: As a reporter for - in a Spanish language daily, what is the thing that the Latino community is really looking at closely now? I mean, what are the things that they're really paying attention to?

MARRERO: Obviously, immigration is important. People are also fearful that the chaos going on in the country will affect the economy. Massive deportations, disruption of education because for example, you know, there was recently a major raid in Tennessee at a meat-packing company. And following that, people stopped sending their kids to school.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: California's taken a stand against the Trump administration's immigration policies, and it's been targeted by the president for that. What's the sense there generally in California, which is overwhelmingly Democratic? Is it a rallying cry among voters?

MARRERO: California, I think, learned its lessons 20, 25 years ago, you know? If you remember, Proposition 187 in 1994 really brought people out to vote.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Proposition 187 was a proposition that basically targeted health and education services for undocumented immigrants.

MARRERO: Yes. It brought Latinos to naturalize. And there's an indication that Latinos are again going to naturalization as a tool, not just for defense because you are more secure in this country if you naturalize as opposed to just having a green card. So I think California is a swell place to continue to resist and to do what we feel we should do in terms of immigration policy and other policies.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's Pilar Marrero, a writer at the Spanish language daily La Opinion in LA. Thank you so much.

MARRERO: Thank you, Lulu.

(SOUNDBITE OF MASERATI'S "SYNCHRONICITY IV") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.