The Texas chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statement in response to the shooting of two migrants near Sierra Blanca, a small, predominantly Latinx community just 20 miles from the Texas-Mexico border. According to reports, two white men in a pickup truck approached a group of people getting water along a road and fired at least two shots, killing one and wounding one other. On Wednesday, two suspects were taken into custody in connection with the shooting, one of whom is confirmed to be a former warden at a privately run migrant detention center who has been accused of carrying out racist abuse in his capacity as warden.
“No one should have to live in fear for their lives, regardless of race or citizenship status,” said Selina Saenz, a volunteer with the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We are heartbroken for those impacted in this senseless act of gun violence, and we’re furious that this continues to be the reality in our state. We call on the Texas Rangers to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation, and we call on lawmakers at every level to disarm hate and put an end to the plague of gun violence in our communities.”
“What happened along the Texas-Mexico border is a part of a larger problem,” said Jose Alfaro, Director of Latinx Leadership and Engagement at Everytown for Gun Safety. “There’s a hate-fueled narrative that enables violence, fueled by white supremacist rhetoric, the same rhetoric that motivated the El Paso shooting just three years ago. White supremacy is at the root of this violence and it needs to be addressed to protect our communities.”
Latinx communities have borne some of the heaviest burdens of gun violence across the country, and this horrific trend has played out in Texas, too — most recently in Uvalde, when a shooter killed 19 elementary school students and two teachers, and in El Paso, when a shooter, motivated by far-right ideology and racism against the Latinx community, opened fire at a Walmart.
But it’s not only mass shootings that impact Latinx communities. It’s also daily acts of gun violence. On top of this, Latinx people also experience increased rates of violent hate crime victimization, amplified chiefly by anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric. This gun violence reaps generational cycles of unacknowledged trauma throughout these communities, where conversations about mental health are still stigmatized, further deepening the devastating impact of this crisis. Policy makers must do more to disarm hate and prioritize the safety of Latinx communities.
Each year, more than 4,100 Latinx people die from gun violence in the United States, and 13,300 more are wounded. Latinx people are twice as likely to die by gun homicide and Latinx children and teens are three times more likely to be killed by gun homicide than their white peers.