Anti-immigrant protest in California

'Go back to your country': Immigrants report a wave of insults and slurs

'Go back to your country': Immigrants report a wave of insults and slurs

Univision has received dozens of reports from readers and viewers. Experts say people feel emboldened by President Trump’s openly anti-immigrant rhetoric and policy.

Anti-immigrant protest in California
Anti-immigrant protest in California

Carlos Hernandez usually spends Saturdays at an outdoor flea market in Middletown, Pennsylvania, where he sells mobile phone accessories. But on Feb. 4, he closed up shop and went home after just two hours, around 10 a.m., after a customer allegedly lashed out at him with racist insults and threats.

“He said to me ‘you are a terrorist,’ ‘you need to go back to your country,’ ‘you shouldn’t be here,’” Hernandez, 39, told Univision. He says the incident occurred in the outdoor area of Saturday’s Market, a long-standing weekly flea market in rural southern Pennsylvania, near Lancaster.

Hernandez, a father of seven, was born in Honduras and has been in the United States legally for nearly 20 years. He has been selling goods at the informal outdoor market off-and-on for seven years, and says he’d never had a problem until now.

Lea esta nota en español.

He told Univision that a number of nearby customers told him not to pay attention to the man, who was white. Hernandez’s friend and fellow seller, Luis, tried to hide for fear the man would direct similar insults at him.

Hernandez says he did not respond, and did not report the incident to police or to market security. But he admits he was deeply troubled. “I felt really bad,” he says. “I felt destroyed inside. I had to leave.”

Univision contacted a spokesman from Saturday’s Market, who answered some questions but then grew testy and hung up.

Hernandez’s is one of dozens of similar reports that Univision has received through Documenting Hate, a project that is tracking bias incidents and hate crimes around the country since the presidential election. Of more than 40 incidents reported by Univision readers and viewers, the majority involve slurs that targeted an individual for speaking Spanish or being Latino, and at least 10 involved someone telling the person to “go back to your country.” Univision has been unable to verify most of these reports, because they occurred as stand-alone incidents without recorded evidence or witnesses.


The numbers follow a national trend. The Southern Poverty Law Center collected 1,372 reported bias incidents between Nov. 9 and Feb. 7. Of them, anti-immigrant incidents are the most reported, at 346 since the election.

“We are seeing a real rash of fear and hatred directed at immigrants in general,” says SPLC Senior Fellow Mark Potok. Muslim immigrants and Latino immigrants have been the two most targeted groups, he says.

Potok says President Trump’s public statements, both throughout the campaign and post-election, have undoubtedly translated into “hate and violence against those minorities.”

“People see it as permission given from our leaders. People think ‘If Trump says Mexican immigrants are bad, they really must be.’”

While experts are troubled by the current rash of hate, they point out this is not a new phenomenon in the United States.

Waves of anti-immigrant agitation can be traced back to as early as the 1830s, when Irish Catholic immigrants inspired the nation’s first serious bout of nativism, says Annelise Orleck, a Professor of History at Dartmouth College. By the end of the 19th century, the arrival of millions of Europeans led to another wave of intense violence and xenophobia.

The 1920s saw the first-ever substantial legislation passed in the U.S. to restrict and vet immigrants. Anti-immigrant attitudes grew again in the 1990s alongside the passage of California’s Prop. 187, which sought to deny undocumented immigrants social services, healthcare and education.

The hateful incidents being reported across the country now are “the backlash just like it was back then to a sense of change,” Orleck says. “This is not new. It’s just the 21st century version.”


Last week, the SPLC released its annual census of hate groups and other extremist organizations, which showed the number of hate groups in the United States rose for a second year in a row in 2016. According to the SPLC, anti-immigrant hate groups are the “most extreme of the hundreds of nativist and vigilante groups that have proliferated since the late 1990s.”

Among the reports sent to Univision through Documenting Hate are the following:

From Frankfort, Kentucky:

“I was driving my car and at a red light a car stopped next to me … A young man was driving and next to him was a young woman. Out of nowhere they started to insult me and told me to go back to my country, they said every type of insult.”

From Calhoun, Georgia:

“I was leaving Kroger and I stopped in the entrance to respond to a text message as a white couple was walking in. I heard the woman say something about me and -- assuming that I don’t understand or speak English -- the man said to her that I would be one of the first to be deported by Trump. Of course I demanded an explanation and explained to them that I am as much a citizen of this country as them, but they ignored me and walked away laughing.”

From Martinsburg, West Virginia:

“Walking into a buffet restaurant, Golden Corral, a person said to my friend and me why haven’t you already left to your country, didn’t you understand what the president said, that he wanted us out, and in a more aggressive tone he said get out, go to your country.”

Have you been the victim of or witness to a hate incident or crime? Share your story.


Although the deportation numbers for Donald Trump's administration have kept pace with the Obama administration, images of operatives and arrests, hate attacks on different minorities, and the President's own pronouncements have triggered alarms in the immigrant community ... and fear. One of Trump's most vocal campaign promises has begun to come true. And we are not talking about the physical wall, but a deeper, taller and more effective one: the wall of fear.
Jose Castillo's fear since Donald Trump became president turned into terror. The man who lived in the U.S. for more than 15 years fled his home country after gangs threatened to kill him. A few months ago, he stopped driving and sought shelter at a church in New York. From there, he asked the Canadian government for asylum.
The young White House adviser who is one of the president's preferred spokesmen once ran for election at his California high school. His stump speech was found racially offensive by many students as you can see in this video obtained exclusively by Univision. He was escorted off the stage by high school staff.
This is the story of how land along the frontier between the U.S. and Mexico passed through Spanish and Mexican hands before becoming part of the United States. In those days there was no wall.
In the dairy industry in Wisconsin, at the heart of the Rust Belt where Donald Trump won by a landslide, more than half of the workers are immigrants and most of them are undocumented. No American citizen wants to do the hard work they do.
The U.S. Senator is in a close race for re-election in Florida. Now comes new revelations about the cocaine smuggling house Rubio briefly shared with his brother-in-law. Prize-winning journalist Tim Elfrink with the Miami New Times explains the significance of the court papers.
Artist Enrique Chiu is trying to transform the U.S.- Mexico border one paint stroke at a time. Eight years ago, Chiu started inviting people to paint the wall with the aim of uniting people at the border.
The evidence against El Chapo: undercover recordings, intercepted communications, protected witnesses’ declarations, drug seizures, and a confession. As U.S. prosecutors prepare their case against the world's most feared drug trafficker, this is what the government's case is built around.
Family, friends and fans turned out on Wednesday to pay their last respects to Miami Marlins pitching ace, José Fernández who died in a boating accident early Sunday.
Machado was crowned Miss Universe in 1996. A few months later, she gained weight. As a result, Trump planned a media event for journalists to watch her work out, she told Ramos.
The Rio 2016 Paralympics are underway in Brazil. Univision takes a look at real people who have overcome life-changing obstacles. This series is about their power to defy the odds and shatter preconceived notions of their limitations.
Exercise or stay inside. This is the dilemma that the inhabitants of Wilmington, California face everyday. The air quality is among the worst of the United States due to the closeness of 5 refineries, the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles as well as several highways. “We go out running, and after a few minutes my nose hurts and it’s hard to breathe”, said Jhovana Ruelas.
Yaxeni and Ricardo, from the Houston-based Los Luzeros de Rioverde, denounce deportation in their new song "El Descendiente." The duo hasn't yet graduated from elementary school, but they've already put out two albums.
The former US president signed the 1977 Canal treaties that gave control of the strategic waterway to Panama in 1999.
It has been a year since the real estate magnate announced his presidential bid. Here is the best (and worst) in a year of Trump.
Celebrities offer their support to the LGBT community in the aftermath of the shooting at Pulse Orlando.
Annette Taddeo y Lorenzo Palomares exponen sus prioridades si llegan al Senado por el Distrito 40 de Miami-Dade
La candidata por el Partido Demócrata Anette Taddeo afirma que si logra llegar al Senado se enfocaría en la educación, tráfico, medio ambiente y una verdadera representación del pueblo para dejar a un lado los intereses especiales. Por su parte, Lorenzo Palomares, candidato republicano, tiene como objetivo trabajar en soluciones de transporte y en la generación de presupuestos e ingresos para las familias del sur de Florida.
¿Qué viene para Venezuela tras el plebiscito por la democracia y el paro nacional convocado por la oposición?
El analista Gilberto Carrasquero asegura que el pueblo venezolano va a exigir que se cumpla lo que se votó en el plebiscito del pasado domingo 16 de julio, pero cree que el acuerdo de gobernabilidad al que se llegó no constituye un movimiento firme para acabar con la dictadura de Nicolás Maduro. Por otro lado, José Antonio Colina, presidente de Veppex, asevera que, tras el mandato hecho por el pueblo, se tienen que designar unos magistrados y a las autoridades del CNE y nombrar un gobierno de Unidad Nacional.
¿Qué tan conveniente sería reemplazar el programa Obamacare?
La analista republicana Marili Cancio cree que en el lanzamiento del Obamacare se dijeron muchas mentiras al pueblo respecto a ciertos beneficios que recibirían y que los demócratas deben asumir esta responsabilidad. Millie Herrera contradice asegurando que gracias a este programa hay 18 millones de nuevos clientes para las compañías de seguro que se vieron favorecidos.
Encuentro entre Donald Trump y Vladímir Putin, una reunión que desató polémica
Miembros y simpatizantes republicanos creen que la reunión entre los dos mandatarios no pasó a ser más que un encuentro normal en un evento en el que había mucha gente y cámaras que pueden testificar sobre los temas tratados. La analista Demócrata Millie Herrera cree que la desconfianza que existe hacia Donald Trump crea la necesidad de que haya más claridad y transparencia en este tipo de encuentros.
Cuando los inmigrantes "son cargados": impactante video muestra por qué el tramo en camión es el más peligroso del cruce ilegal de la frontera
Decenas de inmigrantes han muerto asfixiados en las cajas de los tráilers que los traficantes conocidos como 'coyotes' usan para ocultarlos en el cruce fronterizo hacia Estados Unidos. El hallazgo este fin de semana de 8 inmigrantes muertos y al menos 20 más en condiciones críticas dentro de un camión en San Antonio, lo demuestra una vez más.
Dramático rescate de inmigrantes encerrados en un camión
El rescate de 40 inmigrantes ocurrió el mes pasado en Frio County, Texas, pero hasta ahora se publica el video grabado por cámaras corporales de los policías
El efecto de la inmigración: comprueba con esta calculadora cómo las deportaciones debilitan la economía estadounidense
Hay una forma para que el presidente Trump impulse la economía en un 4%, pero la fórmula probablemente no le gustará.
Hallan 8 inmigrantes muertos y al menos otros 20 en estado crítico dentro de un tráiler en San Antonio
Las autoridades indicaron que en el vehículo localizado en un estacionamiento de una tienda Walmart había un total de 38 personas, 20 de ellas en "estado crítico extremo". Alguien alertó sobre presuntos inmigrantes indocumentados encerrados dentro del remolque.
Óscar Murillo despeja el balón y aleja el peligro
Óscar Murillo despeja el balón y aleja el peligro on July 23, 2017
Pase de Bryan Rabello,que marca el gol
Pase de Bryan Rabello,que marca el gol on July 23, 2017
Aquí está la fórmula financiera del papá de Neymar para llevárselo al PSG
La prensa en España e Inglaterra señala que Neymar Padre planea hacer que Ney Junior ¡pague su propia claúsula de 222 millones al Barça!
Disparo afuera de Víctor Guzmán
Disparo afuera de Víctor Guzmán on July 23, 2017