Concentration camps. In 2018. In America. For children.

“First they came for the Jews . . . “

Eighty years ago, on the deck of ship passing the Statue of Liberty, stood my mother, a refugee from the Nazis.

Two days ago I stood, for a second time, in a protest about children taken away from parents at the border. The night before, watching a program including something about Auschwitz, I heard the line, “upon arrival, children ripped from their mothers’ arms.”

That was a Nazi crime. Now it’s America ripping children from mothers’ arms. And, literally, putting them in concentration camps.* Some in cages there. I used to loathe America-haters accusing my beloved country of crimes. Now it brought tears to my eyes to be standing there myself protesting a crime against humanity by America.

(Times-Union photo)

It’s not just “illegal immigrants” who are victims of this atrocity. Also asylum seekers, who do not arrive illegally. Their right to come here to apply for asylum is clear under international law supposedly subscribed to by America. There was a time when the U.S. respected — even promoted — international human rights norms. Trump’s border policy blatantly violates them.

Now Attorney General Sessions furthermore says we will no longer recognize claims for asylum based on domestic or gang violence, abrogating longstanding principles relating to asylum. And no other country separates children from parents at their border. None. 

For most of these migrants, the journey is extremely hard and dangerous even before reaching the border. Anyone who brings their children through such peril must be trying to escape some truly horrific conditions. They are human beings who have already suffered greatly and deserve, at the very least, compassion and charity. Instead we treat them as criminals, indeed meting out the harshest punishment imaginable. Taking away their children. Many of these parents will never again see children disappearing into the bureaucratic chaos of America’s overwhelmed concentration camp system (and foster care system). This vile crime, against innocent children as well as their parents, is an indelible black stain upon this country and upon every government functionary guilty of participating in it.

That includes Jeff Sessions, John Kelly, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who continue trying to defend this monstrous policy. And it mainly includes the occupant of the desk where the buck stops. Who weaseled that it’s because of a “horrible law” allegedly passed by Democrats. That is nonsense. The law in question was passed in the George W. Bush administration — and does not require child separation. It was never so interpreted before. Trump is doubly criminal: presiding over this cruel travesty, and lying to blame political opponents for it.

These shameless creeps dare to call themselves Christians and even, to defend their inhumanity, invoke the Bible. What would Jesus do?

Trump fantasizes going to Stockholm for a Nobel Prize. Instead it should be the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

How low America has sunk. The words engraved on the Statue of Liberty — the high ideals of a great and good nation — have been made a cruel mockery. I had actually long feared America was heading for decline. But I never imagined the bottom falling out with such a swift bang.

* Some are falsely told their children are being taken for baths — an eerie echo of Auschwitz victims told they were going to showers, not gas chambers.

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2 Responses to “Concentration camps. In 2018. In America. For children.”

  1. Lee Says:

    A New York Times article says that the primary architects for this new policy are Jeff Sessions and Stephen Miller. Miller is up there with Steve Bannon and John R. Bolton in being really scary.

  2. Conservative Hypocrisy Over Immigrants in ICE Concentration Camps – Its (All) a Social Construct(?)! Says:

    […] way into the mainstream is affirmative. Writer and historian Sean Munger has called them as such; Frank S. Robinson in the Rational Optimist as well. The false equivalence is mostly startling because similarities […]

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