America’s new concentration camps

Paul J. Richards/AFP

❝ [In June], New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez referred to US border detention facilities as “concentration camps,” spurring a backlash in which critics accused her of demeaning the memory of those who died in the Holocaust. Debates raged over a label for what is happening along the southern border and grew louder as the week rolled on. But even this back-and-forth over naming the camps has been a recurrent feature in the mass detention of civilians ever since its inception, a history that long predates the Holocaust.

❝ At the heart of such policy is a question: What does a country owe desperate people whom it does not consider to be its citizens?…From the Fourth Geneva Convention protecting civilians in 1949 to the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, the international community established humanitarian obligations toward the most vulnerable that apply, at least in theory, to all nations…

In addition to the total of detainees held by Border Patrol, an even higher number is detained at centers around the country by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency: on a typical day at the beginning of this month, ICE was detaining more than 52,500 migrants. The family separation policy outraged the public in the 2018, but despite legal challenges, it never fully ended. Less publicized have been the deaths of twenty-four adults in ICE custody since the beginning of the Trump administration; in addition, six children between the ages of two and sixteen have died in federal custody over the last several months. It’s not clear whether there have been other deaths that have gone unreported.

RTFA. Please. It is a thorough and current essay on what has been done in our name, time and again.

Our state capital, Santa Fe, was the site of one of those so-called internment camps during WW2. It’s a lovely neighborhood, nowadays, with few remembering the political aberration of 80 years ago. What our politicians are doing along the southern border will not be easy for anyone with a conscience to forget.

2 thoughts on “America’s new concentration camps

  1. मदद के लिए पुकारो says:

    (8/16/19): In an El Paso federal courtroom on Friday, a doctor working for Immigration and Customs Enforcement calmly described the mechanics of force-feeding migrants who are hunger-striking at an El Paso detention center, a process that the United Nations has called “cruel, inhuman, and degrading” and she called “uncomfortable.”
    Under questioning from a government lawyer, Dr. Michelle Iglesias said that it takes at least ten medical and correctional personnel to conduct the procedure, which involves inserting a long flexible tube through the detainee’s nose, down the throat, and into the stomach.
    As many as five other detainees, including fellow hunger-strikers, are in the same room as the sometimes-bloody procedure unfolds.
    At the hearing, attorneys for ICE sought permission to force-feed two men from India who have gone without food for 39 days in a bid to be released on bond while courts decide their immigration cases. The men have said they will die in jail rather than be returned to certain political persecution in India.
    “Forced feeding is never ethically acceptable,” the World Medical Association said in its declaration on hunger strikers in 1991. “Even if intended to benefit [the detainee], feeding accompanied by threats, coercion, force or use of physical restraints is a form of inhuman and degrading treatment.”

  2. John Grierson says:

    In this clip from Frederick Wiseman’s “Titicut Follies” (1967) an inmate of the Bridgewater State Hospital for the criminally insane in Massachusetts who is refusing to eat is subjected to a rather brutal force-feeding [during which a doctor’s cigarette ash falls into the funnel used to feed the patient], while a sequence edited in parallel shows his body being prepared (with a great deal more care) for burial. The film was banned in 1967

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