Posted by: minnow | June 22, 2019

These Camps by Any Other Name Still Stink

AOC’s use of the term Concentration Camp is accurate–whether defined by Merriam-Webster or by history. What we need to remember is the mass murder of Jews and other undesirable groups in WW II concentration camps (which is the association the GOP and others don’t want us to make) was deemed the “final solution”. Sadly, the United States might just be getting started. Although we may not like the perception, America has become (if we weren’t all along) a country that is quite capable of severely inhumane treatment of INNOCENT people. And whether or not we like that self perception we aren’t going to solve the problem by quibbling over semantics.

What matters most are the deplorable conditions and treatment children receive in these facilities. While alarm bells have rung over recent deaths of children in these detention centers, immigrant deaths is not exactly a new problem. According to the Nation more people died in fiscal year 2017 than in any single year since 2009. In February, The New York Times reported that the Justice Department received more than 4500 complaints of sexual assault in the last four years alone, with an increase noted since 45’s policy to forcefully separate children from their parents. Additionally, Newsweek reported this week (6/20/19) that the current administration actually insisted it is not part of their job to provide immigrant children with basic hygiene products, like soap and toothbrushes, and sleeping on cold cement floors is adequate care. According to a Wall Street Journal article from October 2018, “It costs about $750 a day per child to keep children in such emergency shelters, according to government data. The average permanent shelter spends about $250 a day per child.” Think about that for a moment. The government is paying someone between $250 and $750 dollars a day per child–let me say that again, between  $250 and $750 dollars a day per child–to house children, yet can’t even provide them with a toothbrush! But yeah, don’t call them concentration camps because that, um, might conjure a negative image.

Well here is a negative image to try and get out of your head–A 17 year old mother and her premature baby were discovered by an advocacy group at the McAllen processing facility instead of in a hospital. Or this–A 2017 report on sexual assault and physical abuse in DHS component agencies indicates that while there were 33,126 complaints between 2010 and the time of the report only 570 were investigated. Or, this:

Related image

Children being held in cages under armed guards. PHOTO FROM WASHINGTON ENGLISH CENTER

To be clear–if this behavior existed under President Obama, or any other president, then that was wrong and we should have addressed the issue a lot soon. But, who started it really isn’t the problem now. THE PROBLEM IS children are being forcefully separated from their parents at our borders. The problem is children are being held in cages, not getting the medical care they need, and are not kept safe. The problem is how we treat these children causes long term trauma. The problem is the government is having difficulty reuniting parents and children. The problem is drugs are not being stopped, gangs are not being stopped, and other criminal activity is not being stopped; children and families are being stopped. The problem is for profit facilities are making a hell of a lot of money to do the bare minimum and they are doing the bare minimum badly.

Obviously, the United States needs a comprehensive immigration policy overhaul. However, the likelihood that will happen under the current administration is next to nil. Even so, you SHOULD be calling or emailing your Congress men and women to register your complaint about the current situation. Humanitarian legislation is currently being considered in both the House and the Senate. One of these stop gap measures must be passed. Your Representative and Senators need to know you’re appalled by the conditions being reported and that their lack of action will bite them in the butt later. We also need to start working NOW to replace this administration and the members of Congress who continually obstruct attempts to address the HUMANITARIAN problem at our border.

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