"Infest," "Violent," "Shithole": This Is The Language Trump Uses To Talk About Immigrants

Trump has frequently used language that dehumanizes or vilifies immigrants.

1. "Infest"

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

In a Tuesday tweet, the president equated immigrants to vermin when he accused Democrats of wanting "illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our Country, like MS-13."

2. "Violent"

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

Referring to the hundreds of thousands of refugees and asylum-seekers who arrived in Europe in recent years, the president tweeted Monday that Europeans had made a "big mistake...in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!"

The president also said Germany's crime rate had risen as a result of the migrants' arrival, but in fact the country's overall crime rate is down.

3. "The worst criminals"

Evan Vucci / AP

"Children are being used by some of the worst criminals on earth as a means to enter our country," Trump tweeted on Monday, without elaborating on how many people he says are "using" children to enter the US.

When Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Monday there was a "staggering 315% increase in illegal aliens fraudulently using children to pose as family units to gain entry into this country," the New York Times was quick to point out those represent a minuscule percentage of the overall number of migrants. The first five months of 2018 had seen 191 fraudulent family claims, a DHS official told the Times, or some 0.6% of 31,000 families apprehended at the southwestern border.

4. "Crime infested and breeding"

Evan Vucci / AP

"Soooo many Sanctuary areas want OUT of this ridiculous, crime infested & breeding concept," the president tweeted about in April. It was not clear what the president meant by "breeding" and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders later said he was not talking about animals breeding.

“Certainly I think it could mean a lot of things to a lot of people," she said. "But the president is talking about a growing problem.”

5. "Shithole"

Evan Vucci / AP

During a private meeting in the Oval Office with lawmakers from both parties in January, Trump suddenly asked why the US was accepting people from "shithole countries"— referring to people from Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations.

Trump later denied making the comment (despite senators insisting he had said it), but admitted to using "tough" language.

6. "All have AIDS"

Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

According to the New York Times, Trump fumed during a June 2017 Oval Office meeting about the number of foreigners arriving in the US.

Speaking of the 15,000 people who had come from Haiti, Trump said they "all have AIDS," according to the Times.

The press secretary denied Trump had made the comments.

7. "Go back to their huts"

Andrew Harnik / AP

At the same Oval Office meeting, the New York Times reported Trump complained that the 40,000 people who had arrived from Nigeria would never "go back to their huts" in Africa once they had seen the US. (Again, the White House denied he said this.)

8. "Illegals"

Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

At a February 2017 meeting with police chiefs, Trump told the law enforcement officials, "You know the illegals, you know them by their first name. You know them by their nicknames. You have that power."

“You’re in the neighborhoods. You know the bad ones. You know the good ones,” he said. “I want you to turn in the bad ones.”

Use of the term "illegal" to describe people, and not actions, has been widely condemned by immigrant rights groups and is not commonly used by most media organizations. "No human being is illegal," Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel once said.

9. "Bad hombres"

Susan Walsh / AP

"We have some bad hombres here, and we're going to get them out," Trump famously said at his last presidential debate against Hillary Clinton in 2016.

In a January 2017 call with Mexican president, Trump reportedly told Enrique Peña Nieto his country had "a bunch of bad hombres down there," according to an excerpt seen by the Associated Press. (The AP reported the excerpt did not make clear whether Trump was speaking about cartel members, immigrants, or both.)

10. "The Snake"

Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images

Throughout the presidential campaign, and again at the 2018 CPAC conference, Trump frequently read a song he called "The Snake" to rail against immigrants.

The tale tells the story of a woman who takes in a cold, sick snake and nurses it back to health, only to be fatally bitten.

While he initially used the song to rail against Syrian refugees, by 2018 the president was equating more people with reptiles.

"Think of it in terms of immigration," the president told the CPAC crowd.

"So let's dedicate this to [then–secretary of Homeland Security John] Kelly, the Border Patrol, and the ICE agents for doing such an incredible job," he said at a rally to mark his 100th day in office.

11. "Rapists"

Alex Brandon / AP

At the June 2015 event that launched his presidential campaign, Trump accused Mexico of deliberately sending malevolent people to the US.

"They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists," he said. "And some, I assume, are good people.”



A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.