“This administration has established concentration camps on the southern border of the United States for immigrants, where they are being brutalized with dehumanizing conditions and dying. This is not hyperbole. It is the conclusion of expert analysis. And for the shrieking Republicans who don’t know the difference: concentration camps are not the same as death camps. Concentration camps are considered by experts as “the mass detention of civilians without trial.” And that’s exactly what this administration is doing.”
Those are the words of freshman Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on June 18th. I fully agree with her words. She has been taken to task by republicans, and even by Yad Vashem, of the Holocaust research center. I have read the arguments, pro and con, and I still agree with Ms. Ocasio-Cortez. The conditions under which we are holding people, particularly children, against their will and for no legitimate reason, is unconscionable, is a crime against humanity, and defies international law. It is not much different from what the concentration camps in Germany were in the early days of Hitler’s regime, before the death camps.
What crime have these children committed? None. What crime have their parents, then, committed? In most cases none, unless it is a crime to flee from violence and seek a safe haven for one’s family.
What, exactly, are ‘crimes against humanity’? The United Nations Human Rights Council defines crimes against humanity as …
“… murder, extermination, torture, enslavement, persecution on political, racial, religious or ethnic grounds, institutionalized discrimination, arbitrary deportation or forcible transfer of population, arbitrary imprisonment, rape, enforced prostitution and other inhuman acts committed in a systematic manner or on a large scale and instigated or directed by a Government or by any organization or group.”
Warren Binford is a law professor at Willamette University in Oregon, and one of the few lawyers that visited a Customs and Border Patrol detention center in Clint, Texas, where 250 infants, children and teenagers are being held. According to her report, these children are denied adequate food, water or sanitation. Listen to what she said about the conditions in this facility …
There is a 1997 federal court ruling that came as a result of abuses dating to the 1980s, that strictly limits the government’s ability to keep children in immigration detention. This is known as the Flores Settlement, and it requires the federal government to do two things: to place children with a close relative or family friend “without unnecessary delay,” rather than keeping them in custody; and to keep immigrant children who are in custody in the “least restrictive conditions” possible.
Trump has fought to overturn or circumvent the Flores Settlement, but it is one thing he cannot legally accomplish via executive order, so the republicans in Congress have proposed legislation that would effectively overrule the decree. Last week, the government was in federal court to argue that it shouldn’t be required to give detained migrant children toothbrushes, soap, towels, showers or even half a night’s sleep inside Border Patrol detention facilities. Yes, you read that right.
Arguing the government’s case was Justice Department lawyer Sarah Fabian who faced a three-judge panel. Ms. Fabian was, as she should have been, shredded by the judges, for there can be no legitimate case for depriving children of the most basic necessities. She hedged and deflected, lied and stuttered, and at the end of the day she looked like the fool that she is. Take a look …
Her only real argument was that the Flores Settlement does not specifically list the items that must be provided in border facilities, and that it created a problem of “enumerating certain hygiene items”. Circuit Judge William Fletcher responded …
“It wasn’t perfume soap. It was soap. It wasn’t high-class mild soap. It was soap. And that sounds like it [falls in the category] of safe and sanitary. Are you disagreeing with that?”
I wonder how Ms. Fabian would like to sleep in her clothes, on the floor, with only a piece of tin foil for a blanket, then wake the next morning unable to either shower or brush her teeth? Or Donald Trump? Perhaps they should have to spend a night or two in the conditions they have imposed on these children.
Six migrant children have died in the “protective” custody of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). How many more … how many more must die before someone in the Department of Justice or the administration has the guts to stand up and say, “ENOUGH!!!”? The federal government of the United States already has blood on its hands. Donald Trump has blood on his hands and is as guilty of murder as if he had personally killed those six children.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is essentially correct, these are no better than concentration camps. I hear my representative, republican Warren Davidson, referring to how “proud” we should be of our country. His only concern these days is something or other to do with “cryptocurrency”. I hear Trump say how he’s made this such a “great country”. I disagree. Right now, I am not proud of this nation … not one little bit.