El Paso Residents Sign Letter Telling Donald Trump He Is Not Welcome in Their City: 'It Is Your Rhetoric and Actions That Led Us to This Terrible Moment'

El Paso residents have been signing their names to an online letter telling President Donald Trump in no uncertain terms that he is not welcome in their city after their Mayor, Dee Margo, announced that the U.S. leader would likely be visiting on Wednesday in the wake of Saturday's mass shooting.

Drafted by immigration advocacy group Border Network For Human Rights, the letter asks Trump to "stay away" from El Paso, before blaming his "rhetoric" and "actions" for having "led us to this terrible moment."

"We, the undersigned, organizations and individuals who make El Paso and Southern New Mexico our home, and our friends and allies across this great land, send you this letter in the hope that, in the aftermath of this heinous crime, you will NOT come to El Paso, our home," the letter begins.

"This is a time of intense grief and mourning, and we appreciate the impulse to comfort the kin of those killed and wounded—however, your presence would bring no comfort, no respite from the pain so brutally and callously imposed upon us. We ask, instead, for your absence. We say this because we recognize that it is your rhetoric and your actions that led us to this terrible moment. This shooter was inspired by your words and your attitudes."

The letter comes as Trump continues to face backlash over his anti-immigrant and racist rhetoric after it emerged that the suspect in the El Paso shooting, which has so far seen 22 people dead, is believed to have posted a manifesto on the website 8chan railing against Texas' Hispanic and immigrant communities in the lead-up to the attack.

As it has been widely noted, the suspect used language that has been employed in Trump's own rhetoric, including referring to the presence of Hispanics in Texas as "invasion"—a word that the president repeatedly used to describe the arrival of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.

In their letter, members of the Border Network for Human Rights tell Trump that his "portrayal of asylum seekers as an 'invasion,' of Mexicans as 'rapists and criminals,' of unauthorized immigrants as 'animals,' your constant reliance on sowing hatred and fear, your embrace of racism and white supremacy, all of this over these past years has brought us to this place of pain."

"Given this history of hate on your part, we ask that you stay away. In the meantime, we will lament this loss—the 22 dead and 24 wounded, our mothers and fathers, neighbors and friends—without you. This is for the best."

"But, as you stay far, far away from the death, and pain, and grief you have caused, we hope you take a moment for genuine introspection, deep soul searching, and penance," the authors state.

"We hope you will genuinely change," they tell Trump, before suggesting that the president also consider asking for El Paso's forgiveness.

"We hope you will have the grace and humility to ask for our community's forgiveness," they say, adding: "We hope that following this horror we will never again hear the racist, xenophobic, and hateful language that has marked your presidency."

The letter also asks that Trump cut his "ties to white supremacists," before naming current Trump adviser Stephen Miller, former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

"We hope you will champion laws and policies that ban assault weapons and high yield magazines, enact universal background checks, and demand red flag laws that take guns from those who are a harm to themselves or others. We hope you will stop policies that criminalize, demonize, and dehumanize migrants. We hope you will uplift our Southern Border as the 'New Ellis Island' of our age—a gateway to an inclusive, welcoming America that is still the land of opportunity for all," the letter says.

"Only then, after you have demonstrated this change, genuine and meaningful, in your words, your acts, and your heart, can we welcome you in El Paso again. In the meantime, we must insist you are not welcome here."

While Trump has called for "bipartisan solutions" after the weekend's mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, the U.S. leader has not called for any specific new restrictions, aside from expressing his support for "red flag" laws to keep guns out of the hands of those who appear to pose a significant threat.

The U.S. leader has also directed the Justice Department to propose legislation that would see those convicted of hate crimes and mass murders face the death penalty "quickly."

The president has not signaled any changes in his approach to immigration in the wake of the El Paso shooting, aside from suggesting "marrying" background checks for gun purchases with "desperately needed immigration reform" in a tweet.

It is unclear how many people have signed the Border Network for Human Rights' letter so far. However, since the organization published the letter online, it has been shared widely across Twitter, Facebook and Reddit. Newsweek has contacted the organization for more information.

The letter echoes a sentiment expressed by Texas Democratic Rep. Veronica Escobar, who told MSNBC in a recent interview that the president is "not welcome" in her hometown, El Paso.

"From my perspective, he is not welcome here. He should not come here while we are in mourning," Escobar said. Instead, "I would encourage the president's staff members to have him do a little self-reflection. I would encourage them to show him his own words and his actions at the rallies," the congresswoman said.

"That this whole country is hurting, that there has been bigotry and racism and hatred that has been stoked at all levels, and as the president, he has the most significant authority and responsibility to show this country to heal," she nnnnnnnnnnnnsaid. "Now is the time, and he needs to accept responsibility, everyone does, for what has gotten us to this point."

It is still unclear whether Trump will follow through with reported plans to visit El Paso. The White House has not immediately responded to a request for comment from Newsweek.

El Paso
A man holds his head in his hand at a makeshift memorial for victims of Walmart shooting that left a total of 22 people dead at the Cielo Vista Mall WalMart in El Paso, Texas, on August 5, 2019. Residents of El Paso have signed a letter asking President Donald Trump to 'stay away' from their city in the wake of the shooting. MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty