A memorial at the scene of the mass shooting in El Paso
A memorial at the scene of the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. Courtesy FBI

Ever since President Ronald Reagan enthusiastically supported the growing Hispanic American population by declaring Hispanic Heritage Month, the beginning of the month every Sept. 15 has been a proud moment for me. This year not so much.

There is a thirty-something percentage that actively despises American Hispanics, thinks they are all illegal aliens and fill our prisons to the brim with vicious criminals.

Factless drivel flows from so-called “conservative” news programs that is repeated or sometimes initially expressed by the President of the United States. No objective observer can deny that factless bigotry dominates some media.

This writer has experienced anti-Mexican bigotry since he came from Mexico. The current strain started in 1993 during the debate over the North American Free Trade Agreement, by union leaders, Ross Perot, writer Pat Buchanan and civil rights leader Jesse Jackson. It was reborn in June 2015 when Donald Trump announced his bid for the Presidency with vicious attacks on our current number-one trading partner, Mexico, and its people, Mexicans.

He accused Mexico of “not sending its best” people and “ripping off” the United States by selling more goods to us than it buys. He ignored the fact that Mexico buys more in services than it sells to us.  Blatantly, he ignores the fact that many Mexican citizens have served or are serving in U.S. military forces, something neither Trump himself nor any Trump family member has ever done.

He accused all but some Mexicans of being “criminals,” “rapists” and suppliers of America’s huge illicit drug problems. The President’s words brought hatred of Mexicans to a national level, far above its traditional locus in the Southwest and Texas.

Today, there are more non-American Hispanics in federal custody than ever. So-called “conservative” news commentators suggest Mexican prisoner percentages prove that Hispanics are mostly vicious criminals who murder and rape. But the truth is that most are being held for immigration violations or for seeking asylum, not criminal violations. A third are minor children who are legally incapable of committing crimes.

Consider the rants by Fox News, One America News Network, and the President himself about MS-13, a small Salvadoran/American gang. Yes, it is vicious, but it is a regional gang whose minimal numbers show that attention by the White House is misplaced. The White House lies about the gang and its place in the United States. The lies cause Fox and OANN to lie as well.

Raoul Lowery Contreras

MS-13’s membership is basically in Los Angeles, Washington, DC, and Long Island. Its numbers are estimated by authorities who know at about 10,000 nationally scattered thinly throughout 42 states.

Many of the crimes they are accused of by the White House and their Fox News cheerleader Tucker Carslon are enhanced by their imaginations.

Example: Carlson spent much program time on a rape by two illegal aliens from El Salvador and Guatemala that allegedly took place in a boys bathroom at a Maryland high school. Carlson featured a burly, crew-cut, white Maryland police detective who claimed he had a “slam dunk” case against the alleged rapists. Carlson frothed with glee at the detective’s statement.

Carlson trumpeted a local case into a multi-day national story, but in actuality there was no case. There was no rape to begin with.

As far as Hispanics being crime-prone, especially if they are here illegally, it’s not true. The facts prove it.

In California, the state with the most immigrants, Mexican citizens make up only 8.6 percent of the total prison population. That percentage proves that Mexicans are not the scourge President Trump says they are. In the Federal prison system, the number is an equally low 11.6%, proving Trump, Fox News, OANN, Breitbart and their rabid followers are wrong.

President John Adams’ famously said, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” That has real meaning these days.

We must use facts to counter the “alternate facts” propounded by those who seek to demonize 60 million American Hispanics. It is an existential threat to the multi-cultural future of America.

The President and toadies like Tucker Carlson must be challenged with facts and reason. Will that carry the day? Given what happened at the El Paso Walmart some weeks ago, it remains to be seen.

Raoul Lowery Contreras is a political consultant and author of the new book White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPS) & Mexicans. His work has appeared in the New American News Service of the New York Times Syndicate.