Twitter users reacted strongly to President Donald Trump’s use of the word “infest” to describe illegal immigration.
Responding to criticism of a policy that has led to more than 2,000 children being separated from their parents at the border, Trump tweeted that Democrats were to blame.
“They don’t care about crime and want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our country, like MS-13,” he wrote, referencing a violent criminal gang based in Central America.
Critics of Trump’s language argued that it was dehumanizing to use a term traditionally used for pests.
Other Twitter users went even further, comparing it to language used during genocides.
The controversy happened about a month after Trump used the word “animals” while criticizing California’s immigration approach. After facing public scrutiny for his language, Trump tweeted that he was referring specifically to MS-13 gang members, “a big difference.”