Some Information on the Anti-Immigrant Hate Group That Supplies Crime Victims to Trump for Exploitation
Our first duty, and our highest loyalty, is to the citizens of the United States. We will not rest until our border is secure, our citizens are safe, and we finally end the immigration crisis once and for all. pic.twitter.com/7YfZ9kjB23
You probably saw Donald Trump’s latest anti-immigrant propaganda session, featuring family members of crime victims. Trump tweeted about it, of course.
And if you look closely at the photo, you can see that he actually signed the portraits of these murder victims in his usual giant magic marker style. Who does that?
A lot has been written about the purpose of these spectacles; it’s very unsubtle hate propaganda, the same insidious techniques used by authoritarian leaders throughout history.
But there isn’t much discussion in the media about the group that supplies the crime victims for these events.
Please note: I’m not doubting for one second that the stories of loss and heartache these people tell are genuine. These aren’t “crisis actors.” It’s completely natural to feel sympathy and pity for what they’ve gone through.
But if you look into The Remembrance Project, the non-profit organization behind “Angel Families,” you discover a virulent, extreme right wing anti-immigrant group, whose leader has a long documented history of ties to white nationalist groups of the John Stanton strain, the same family of extremists that includes the so-called Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). Both the Remembrance Project and FAIR are designated as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center, with good reason.
And this isn’t a distant memory either; in 2013 the Remembrance Project website posted a link (since deleted) to the infamous neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, an article titled “Family Furious as Illegal Alien Let Out of Jail to Kill White People.”
So I think the question of whether the grief of these family members is being deliberately exploited by Trump and his far right cronies to stoke hatred and fear needs to be asked. And answered.
Last year more than a dozen families who had been featured in Trump’s (and the GOP’s) anti-immigrant stage shows left the group, and some of them were open about their belief that the Remembrance Project and Donald Trump had used, abused and exploited them.
Several of the families say they feel let down partly because the charity has done nothing to help them financially, despite suggesting that the money it raised — including $52,000 or more raised with Trump’s help — would be used to assist victims’ families. A handful of the families are planning a new group through which they intend to provide such assistance. Several others have demanded that the Remembrance Project refrain from using their names and likenesses — as well as those of their deceased loved ones — in its marketing materials, and some discussed legal action to force the group to comply.
“We were used, abused and exploited, and what’s worse is that my son was used, abused and exploited and is still being used, abused and exploited,” said Brenda Sparks, a former Remembrance Project participant whose son Eric Zepeda died in September 2011 at age 22 after being struck while riding his motorcycle by a car driven by an undocumented immigrant.
“Trump used the Remembrance Project to get to us, and the Remembrance Project also used him,” said Sparks, who was among the so-called Angel Moms who Trump brought on stage at rallies and speeches to tell their stories, including at the August 2016 speech at which he laid out his hard-line immigration plan.
It’s important context to know that these crime victims don’t just show up to Trump’s rallies and propaganda events on their own; they’re organized and supplied to him by an extreme right wing anti-immigrant group that has been at this manipulative game for years.