Our treatment of immigrants and asylum seekers on the border with Mexico has been a disgrace for many months, but it seems to have hit a new low recently. Detention centers are being overloaded with people, causing deplorable and inhuman conditions. Many observers and politicians, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have been comparing the centers to concentration camps, a reference that triggered its own outcry for being too harsh and insensitive.
Two outstanding articles were just published in the New Yorker that are worthy of our attention. The first, by Masha Gessen, addresses the issue of language and terminology. Here’s an excerpt:
In crafting the story of something that should never have been allowed to happen, we forge the story of something that couldn’t possibly have happened. Or, to use a phrase only slightly out of context, something that can’t happen here.
Here’s the link:
Gessen makes a strong point. Things occurring in past that seem unimaginable to us now probably seemed just as unimaginable back then–and yet they happened. It’s worth a read.
The second article describes exactly what is happening in one of the youth camps. It’s a discussion with Willamette law professor Warren Binford hosted by Q&A columnist Isaac Chotiner. Binford recently visited the Clint facility in Clint, Texas. Here’s an excerpt:
So, in any event, the children told us that nobody’s taking care of them, so that basically the older children are trying to take care of the younger children. The guards are asking the younger children or the older children, “Who wants to take care of this little boy? Who wants to take of this little girl?” and they’ll bring in a two-year-old, a three-year-old, a four-year-old. And then the littlest kids are expected to be taken care of by the older kids, but then some of the oldest children lose interest in it, and little children get handed off to other children. And sometimes we hear about the littlest children being alone by themselves on the floor.
Here’s a link. The full article goes into horrifying detail:
The conditions that detainees–and especially the children in youth centers–face are truly disgusting and it’s getting worse by the day. But the situation is starting to get the media coverage that it merits.
Dan Rather tweeted this perfect summary yesterday:
It’s hard to muster outrage in the Trump era. Our outrage reserves are almost entirely depleted. But the situation on the border is so profoundly unAmerican, and so thoroughly inhumane, that we can’t let it slide. We have to shove this abomination in the faces of the Republicans and hold them collectively responsible. A majority of Americans are horrified by our treatment of refugees and immigrants, and think the centers are a disgrace, so the GOP has no strong backing for its malevolence. Let’s make sure this haunts them in 2020.
Keep resisting and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”