15-year-old Anthony Borges is a hero who saved lives during the horrific shooting in Parkland, Florida last week. He’s also a Hispanic immigrant.
The Associated Press recently reported that Borges, who was shot five times during the February 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, is still hospitalized, and is in fair condition. According to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, even though Borges has pulled through the first week of recovery, the injured teen “has a long road ahead with more surgeries needed.” A Gofundme for Borges’ staggering healthcare costs — whose authenticity has been confirmed by local law enforcement — has raised more than half a million dollars as of this writing.
However, one pertinent detail has been somewhat omitted from media coverage about Borges — he’s a Venezuelan immigrant. While President Trump has had plenty to say about the potential national security threat of allowing in immigrants from distressed countries, he’s had almost nothing to say about native-born Americans — like the gunman responsible for the Stoneman Douglas shooting — who hate minorities and love firearms. Except that some are “very fine people.”
While it can’t be overstated that an immigrant’s worth as a human being shouldn’t be determined by extraordinary feats most citizens wouldn’t have the courage to perform in times of extreme duress, Borges’ status as an immigrant flies in the face of the rhetoric of President Trump’s nativist presidential campaign, along with the immigration policy his administration has championed. And this should make all of his supporters take a second look at their support for the Trump administration’s nationalist — and quite frankly, racist — views on immigration.
The Washington, DC-based Center for Global Development (CGD) recently crunched the numbers on what America’s pool of immigrants would look like if the proposed policy changes outlined in President Trump’s State of the Union speech were signed into law and found that America’s future immigrants would look decidedly whiter if Trump had has way.
If President Trump succeeded in his goal of ending the diversity visa program, which grants 50,000 green cards each year to immigrants from predominantly black and brown countries, and ended the family reunification process — which allows immigrants to apply for visas on behalf of spouses and immediate family members — the CDG estimates that the number of black and Hispanic immigrants coming to the U.S. would drop by roughly 60 percent.
Trump’s nationalist immigration rhetoric and policies also sowed seeds of doubt among the Hispanic community following his election. Nearly half of Hispanics surveyed by Pew Research in February 2017 — including citizens, legal permanent residents, and undocumented immigrants — felt more unsafe in the United States with Donald Trump as president, and even green card holders and citizens feel Hispanics’ progress in American society has worsened with the election of Trump.
Among Hispanics, a growing share of many key subgroups say that the state of U.S. Hispanics has deteriorated … Some 38% of Hispanic immigrants who hold U.S. citizenship say this today, up from 21% who said the same in 2014. And 29% of U.S.-born Hispanics say that Hispanics are worse off today than one year ago, up from 17% in 2014. By comparison, Hispanic immigrants who are lawful permanent residents are as likely today (26%) as in 2014 (24%) to say the group’s situation in the U.S. has worsened.
What Anthony Borges’ story tells us is that someone’s capacity for courage, valor, and selflessness even as a killer armed with a weapon is trying to end their life has nothing to do with their country of origin. Even as he was bleeding on the floor, with bullet holes in his legs, Borges was credited with saving the lives of as many as 20 of his classmates. That’s a level of bravery that a future President of the United States with five draft deferments and a 19-year-old with a military-grade assault rifle and a heart full of hatred could never hope to attain.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: As of February 14, 2018, Grit Post will no longer publish the names of mass shooters, and we discourage other media outlets from doing so in order to avoid contributing to future mass shootings by making killers famous.)