This is a national emergency. Yes, the American government has detained immigrants who show up at the border before. That’s a natural part of seeking asylum (which isn’t illegal, and being in the country illegally is just a civil violation—like a parking ticket). Barack Obama deported more people than any president ever. There are existing problems within America’s immigration system that could be/are human rights abuses.
What’s different now is that we are separating children from their parents, and we are housing them on military bases. This is the definition of a concentration camp. We identify with them as extermination camps thanks to Nazi Germany, but the term has a wider, slightly less sinister definition than we got used to during World War II. Perhaps because our very own Japanese concentration camps have been conveniently forgotten to history. Either way, we’re parsing words here. These are crimes against humanity.
A new investigation by the Associated Press finally puts a number to this atrocity perpetrated by the American government: 1,995 kids from April 19th to May 31st.
Or put another way: we are on pace to separate 17,290 kids from their parents over the next year. We're not even returning them promptly after deporting their parents.
Trump says he doesn’t like this, and that it’s supposedly happening thanks to a Democratic bill—which isn’t remotely true. Jeff Sessions said that a new policy would be to separate families at the border earlier this year. The Department of Homeland Security has publicly defended this policy. Jeff Sessions is the Attorney General—the highest lawman in Trump’s branch of government. This is Trump’s policy as long as Jeff Sessions is around, because Sessions’ true aim is white nationalism. His peers famously helped deny hiim a judgeship in 1986 by testifying to Congress that he was a virulent racist—that he would (jokingly?) say things like he approved of the KKK until he learned that they smoked pot. Sessions also praised the racist Immigration Act of 1924 that also received accolades from Adolf Hilter (see next paragraph). Sessions and his ilk want to inflict pain upon any dark-skinned person—including children. That’s what’s happening right now.
The United States government is expanding concentration camps for children. Trump seems to be on the precipice of firing the entire Justice Department over the Russia investigation, and that would (well, should) still take a backseat in the news cycle to a present-day atrocity which would fit right in with Nazi Germany—who famously took their inspiration from America’s racist laws. Per Hitler in Mein Kampf:
There is today one state in which at least weak beginnings toward a better conception [of immigration] are noticeable. Of course, it is not our model German Republic, but [the US], in which an effort is made to consult reason at least partially. By refusing immigrants on principle to elements in poor health, by simply excluding certain races from naturalisation, it professes in slow beginnings a view that is peculiar to the People’s State.
Call your representatives. Make it stop. It’s our duty, lest we become what Hitler envisioned for us.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.