Leaders of the U.S. bishops’ conference on issues of immigration and racism denounced xenophobic and dehumanizing language in the United States, warning that it fosters discrimination and hatred.
“The tragic loss of life of 22 people were in El Paso demonstrates that hate-filled rhetoric and ideas can become the motivation for some to commit acts of violence,” the bishops said.
“The anti-immigrant, anti-refugee, anti-Muslim, and anti-Semitic sentiments that have been publicly proclaimed in our society in recent years have incited hatred in our communities.”
The statement was issued on August 8 by Bishop Joe Vásquez of Austin, head of the U.S. bishops’ migration committee; Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice, Florida, chair of the domestic social development committee; and Bishop Shelton Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, head of the ad hoc committee against racism.
“Donald Trump has created plenty of space for hate,” said presidential hopeful Senator Elizabeth Warren. “He is a racist. He has made one racist remark after another. He has put in place racist policies. And we’ve seen the consequences of it.”
Senator Bernie Sanders, who is also running for president, tweeted at Trump after the shooting, “Your language creates a climate which emboldens violent extremists.”