Dia de Los Muertos is sacred, Trump’s attempt to change that is pathetic

Trump’s attempt to relabel Dia de Los Muertos is racist and xenophobic


Celebrated on Nov. 1, Dia de Los Muertos or Day of the Dead, is a holiday celebrated by millions in the United States, Mexico and other Central American countries. On Oct. 30, 2020, President Donald Trump declared Nov. 1 as National Day of Remembrance for Americans killed by Illegal Aliens. (Photo from pixabay.com)

On Oct. 30, in a last-ditch effort to leave a legacy for himself on his way out of the White House, President Donald Trump issued the Proclamation of National Day of Remembrance for Americans killed by Illegal Aliens, which fell on Nov. 1.

Nov. 1 also happened to be Dia de Los Muertos or Day of the Dead, a holiday that has been celebrated by Latinos for generations stemming all the way back to the Aztecs. Despite the name, for many Latino people, Dia de Los Muertos is actually a holiday based on celebrating life, family and togetherness. 

It is clear that the choice of this day by Trump was done as a microaggression to the Latino community and a dog whistle to racists and xenophobes. Though Joe Biden won the election, it seems Trump is hellbent on ending his presidency on a low note.

“On this National Day of Remembrance, we pause to honor the memory of every American life so egregiously taken from us by criminal illegal aliens. As sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, and as American citizens, these precious lives are an irreplaceable piece of our national community,” the proclamation states. “We solemnly stand with their families — our Angel Families — who have endured what no American family should ever have to suffer.” 

Angel Families, whose mission statement is, “to bring illegal alien crimes to the forefront of politicians and American citizens by bringing victims and their families into the light with their stories and to enlighten them of the fight we have in front of us,” refers to a very small organization made up of a few families whose children were killed by undocumented immigrants. 

On the Angel Families’ website, there are only five available stories to read about victims and it offers no statistics or facts to back up its claims and political wants. The Angel Families Facebook page has a mere 12,331 likes and regularly reposts anti-immigration propaganda stories crafted by Breitbart, a right-wing conspiracy site.

The Cato Institute, a public policy resource organization or “think tank”, published an article entitled, “Illegal Immigrants and Crime— Assessing the Evidence,” in which it states the following:

All immigrants have a lower criminal incarceration rate and there are lower crime rates in the neighborhoods where they live, according to the near-unanimous findings of peer-reviewed evidence. Since 1911, large nationwide federal immigration commissions have asked whether immigrants are more crime-prone than native-born Americans and each one of them answered no, even when the rest of their reports unjustifiably blamed immigrants for virtually every problem in the United States.” 

Despite these truths, Trump is still dedicated to destroying the reputation of immigrants as a whole, claiming that our nation is in great danger and that we must secure our borders. 

“As President, I have no higher duty than to ensure the safety and security of all Americans. Accordingly, I will never rest until our border is fully secure and our communities safe. The laws of our country, including immigration laws, must be respected and followed so that every American citizen may have a bright and prosperous future,” Trump’s proclamation states. “I proudly support our dedicated Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Officers, Customs and Border Protection Officers (CBPOs), Border Patrol Agents, and other law enforcement officials who work every day to protect Americans from the senseless crimes that our Angel Families have had to endure.”

No one deserves to lose their life especially in a violent manner, however, these crimes were not contingent on the perpetrator’s citizenship status, and instead are a result of the complex conjoining of socioeconomic status with human psychology. As unfortunate of a fact as it is, people regardless of their citizenship or immigration status are capable of committing violent crimes and this is not a reason to demonize an entire race of people or exclude those seeking asylum from entering the country. 

Even with a stark lack of evidence to support Trump or the Angel Families calls for more border security, the COVID-19 pandemic and an economic collapse leading to the possible erasure of the middle class, Trump is still pushing the completion of the wall as a necessary course of action for the country.     

“Accordingly, we have devoted time and resources to constructing a strong border wall and ending the disastrous immigration policies of previous administrations. 400 miles of wall have already been built, and we are on pace to complete more than 500 miles by early next year,” the proclamation states. 

It’s unclear what Trump means by “ending the disastrous immigration policies of previous administrations”, considering he is responsible for the permanent separation of 545 children from their families, forced sterilizations and appallingly inhumane conditions for ICE detainees. 

As if all of this wasn’t enough torment for Latino people, Trump’s proclamation to rebrand Dia de Los Muertos as a day of remembrance for Americans is a giant slap in the face and an elaborate show to distract from the facts to reignite people’s passion in his agenda.  

“On this National Day of Remembrance, we pay tribute to the enduring memory of every American killed by an illegal alien. They will never be forgotten, and we will stand by their families and fight for a future where every American is safe. Together, we will pursue the promise of a proud, noble, and secure future while protecting our families and communities from those who seek to do us harm,” the proclamation states. “…I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.”

Dia de Los Muertos should never be celebrated in this manner and even to utter this as a thought speaks volumes to Trump’s racism and insensitivity for other culture’s values. For now, we can only hope that a half-decent president of the future will overturn this hasty and harmful decision and restore honor to those who have lost their lives and families to senseless, racist and xenophobic policies and practices.