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Opinion

EDITORIAL: Cruelty at the border

America can’t ignore inhumanity in the treatment of refugees

Posted

Can intentional cruelty to fellow human beings qualify as legitimate U.S. policy?

The answer appears to be yes, at least to the Trump administration and its supporters. The recent stories and video from detention centers on the U.S. border show conditions that are unimaginable for any country that purports to have any sense of humanity.

Most of us would be shocked to see livestock held in such horrific circumstances, packed into stench-filled cages, in unbearable heat, unable to sit or lie down on anything other than a concrete floor— denied showers or basic hygiene for weeks or even months on end.

But it isn’t livestock forced to suffer months of detention in such conditions. It is poor men, women, and children who President Trump seeks to dehumanize to win points with his political base. He believes such cruelty will impress his base and help pave his path to re-election. Instead, he’s leading all of us down the slippery slope to hell. The only question is whether Americans have grown so immune to the depravity of the current occupant of the White House that we allow such inhumanity to continue.

Let’s be perfectly clear— the Trump administration has suggested that such brutality is part of a strategy, meant to discourage desperate families fleeing deadly violence in Central America in hopes of a better life north of the border. As policy, it’s fiction on multiple fronts.

For one, the people streaming from Central America, in most cases, know little about what kind of conditions they’re likely to face when and if they ever reach the U.S. border. And even if they did understand the brutality they could face in the U.S., these are desperate people facing conditions in their home countries that are as dangerous as in any war zone. Many are legitimate refugees caught between the imminent dangers they face at home from violent gangs and corrupt governments and the inhumanity they face should they reach America.

As policy, it’s entirely ineffective, as the increase in the flow of refugees over the past year attests.

Sadly, it’s likely the policy was never intended to stanch the flow of refugees, but is more an effort to placate the most angry and xenophobic Trump supporters, who have been disappointed with the president’s inability to build a wall at the southern border. Reports and images of the conditions in these American detention facilities may well sicken most Americans, but they no doubt thrill some of the most mean-spirited among Trump’s base.

It was the same with Trump’s announcement of federal raids on undocumented residents in several major cities last weekend. No one in their right mind announces a law enforcement action like that ahead of time, since it reduces its effectiveness while increasing the risks to law enforcement personnel. To Trump, it’s all just political theater, designed to make it appear he’s taking action on an issue important to his supporters. It’s just one more episode of the ongoing reality TV show known as “The Trump Administration,” with the carnival-barker-in-chief providing the color commentary. In the end, the raids never materialized.

It’s far too easy for us to ignore the plight of those fleeing violence in Central America, or to comfort ourselves with the notion that somehow their own poor choices have left them in such circumstances. Yet these are people who had no choice about their countries of origin and have little to say about the structural violence they face day-to-day in their communities.

For those poor Central Americans, caught up in the awful reality of Trump’s political games, life is almost unbearable. We ignore their plight to our everlasting shame.

Comments

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Scott Atwater

I find it strange that for the past two years the entire MSM has been reporting that this crisis on the border was "manufactured". Apparently the majority party in congress still believes this in light of their recent rejection of a bill to provide more funding for border facilities.

Anyway, thanks for the perspective of a dedicated fifth columnist.

Friday, July 19
Deplorable

People seeking asylum are not refugees. The vast majority of asylum requests are denied, and 90% of the asylum seekers are released into the country with a court date. 90% of them don’t bother to show up for their hearings. Taxpayers spend an estimated 130 billion dollars per year on illegal aliens. That is ridiculous and unsustainable to any reasonable person. I am all for more immigration. Legal, merit based immigration.

Friday, July 19
jtormoen

I trust Mr. Deplorable will be back soon with the sources of his comments.

I shall wait ... patiently

Friday, July 19
Deplorable

Sources are readily available it. Please find the time to Google it yourself. There are horrific conditions and human suffering around the world. I prefer to take care of folks closer to home.

Sunday, July 21
jtormoen

I was mistaken that Mr. Deplorable would provide sources for his comments. Seems easier, then, to just blow smoke, add some mirrors, and trust that gobbledygook will be accepted by the reading public.

My applause for your worthy effort at truth.

Sunday, July 21
Scott Atwater

I think I can help with this. Cost estimates range from $80 to $225 billion, with $116 billion being the consensus from most sources. Bottom line is that only a fool would haggle over the negative impact that this has on the federal, state, and local taxpayer.

https://thehill.com/opinion/immigration/439930-your-taxpayer-dollars-are-footing-the-spiraling-costs-of-illegal-immigration

Monday, July 22
jtormoen

Without noting that there is no mention of what these costs might include ... and what is not mentioned in the comment. "Negative" ... hummm? Perhaps some explanation as to what leads to this opinion.

Better to be that fool.than to stumble in the dark.

And if you say you are going to ... you should!.

Monday, July 22
Scott Atwater

Admit it, you don't care what these costs are, otherwise you would have posted them for yourself.

I guess that in your case, ignorance is bliss.

Wednesday, July 24
jtormoen

At some point you may understand my role here ... maybe. Note that I have not even hinted with words my position. What then am I saying ... or is, as you suggest, ignorance abounding.

Wednesday, July 24
Scott Atwater

The fact that you have assigned yourself "a role" here says it all. Oh the hubris!

Wednesday, August 7
jtormoen

While I have your attention ... again ... I shall ask ... again ... "what is it about fascism that is so appealing"

Again ... or still ... or ...

And let me know when you truly figure me out. Even though I have explained.

Seems simple ... or is that the problem

Wednesday, August 7
Scott Atwater

Asked and answered several times. I don't find you (other than political affiliation, a fasciest by all other definition) appealing at all.

Wednesday, August 14
jtormoen

The question is simple ... but no, not yet answered.

What is it about fascism that you find so appealing?

Wednesday, August 14