REUTERS

Trumps False Rhetoric Stokes MS-13 Fear in Supporters: Poll

President Trump has instilled fear in his supporters who believe his lies about immigrants’ threat to the United States, new poll results suggest.


The majority of people who voted for Trump 85 percent believe MS-13 poses a danger to the U.S., according to a YouGov/HuffPost survey. About half are concerned that MS-13 is a specific threat to their own family. Almost a quarter believe MS-13 is the biggest gang in the U.S. (The majority 57 percent admitted they were not sure.)

Earlier this month Trump on Twitter referred to an “infestation” of MS-13 members in the U.S.

In addition to the word choice of “infestation” equating people to vermin, it also suggests a significant influx of members into the country an assertion not based in fact. According to the Department of Justice, MS-13 has about 10,000 members in the U.S. meaning its growth has been stagnant since this is the same number from about a decade ago. Still, the media has continued reporting the opposite, ProPublica noted:

MS-13 has been stubbornly persistent, but it remains a boutique criminal organization, accounting for a tiny portion of 1.4 million gang members nationwide. Trump’s Justice Department says there are about 10,000 MS-13 members in the U.S., the same number as 10 years ago. There’s also nothing new about MS-13 alarmism. Back in 2005, Newsweek ran a cover story about the group, citing its 10,000 members, under the headline, “The most dangerous gang in America.”

Trump too has been amplifying the threat of MS-13 for quite some time. In May he called its members “animals” as he used fear-mongering tactics to perpetuate his anti-immigration rhetoric.

“It’s so ridiculous, the concept that we’re even talking about. It is so ridiculous,” he said.

“We have people coming into the country or trying to come in, we’re stopping a lot of them. But we’re taking people out of the country, you wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals. And we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before. And because of the weak laws, they come in fast, we get ’em, we release them, we get ’em again, we bring ’em out it’s crazy. The dumbest laws on immigration in the world.”

Since before even taking office, Trump has been spreading falsehoods about immigrants being more likely to commit crimes than native-born people. But the evidence to support this simply does not exist. Studies have in fact indicated the opposite.

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