WASHINGTON – Over the weekend, two communities in Texas suffered tragedies likely motivated by violent extremism, a mass shooting at a mall in Allen and a driver ramming a crowd outside a shelter serving migrants in Brownsville, underscoring the danger of normalizing xenophobic rhetoric and hate in this country.
“What happened in Texas illustrates how the mainstreaming of white supremacist, xenophobic, anti-immigrant extremist rhetoric and conspiracies leads to violence,” said Kareem Shora, Executive Vice President for Programs and Policy at Human Rights First. “Even as our hearts go out to the victims, families, and the communities impacted by these tragedies, we call on elected officials who continue to promote racist rhetoric – including the ‘great replacement’ conspiracy and claims of a migrant ‘invasion’ – to stop spreading hate that targets immigrant, Jewish, Black, and Brown communities.”
The gunman in Saturday’s attack in Allen wore right-wing insignia when he killed eight people and seriously wounded others. The perpetrator had a history of posting neo-nazi, white supremacist content online. A bystander reported that the driver in Sunday’s attack yelled that they were “invading my property” before striking and killing his victims.
Human Rights First repeatedly denounced this extremist rhetoric and has called for elected officials to do the same. In response to some Members of Congress promoting the same xenophobic and anti-immigrant sentiment that the violent far-right has embraced, Human Rights First in February submitted two Statements for the Record in Congressional hearings.
Human Rights First briefed Congressional staff and circulated a fact sheet explaining the impact of xenophobic rhetoric and its use by the anti-democratic far-right to undermine the safety of these communities and threaten our democracy.
Human Rights First has also detailed the harms migrants face. The most recent report, Human Rights Stain, Public Health Farce, documented over 13,000 incidents of murder, rape, torture, kidnapping, and other violent assaults committed against migrants as the Biden Administration continued policies that blocked asylum applicants from pursuing their legal right to seek asylum at the southern border.