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.

Huge number of migrant kids held in Trump Jails


Mike Blake/Reuters

❝ Even though hundreds of children separated from their families after crossing the border have been released under court order, the overall number of detained migrant children has exploded to the highest ever recorded — a significant counternarrative to the Trump administration’s efforts to reduce the number of undocumented families coming to the United States.

Population levels at federally contracted shelters for migrant children have quietly shot up more than fivefold since last summer, according to data obtained by The New York Times, reaching a total of 12,800 this month. There were 2,400 such children in custody in May 2017.

❝ The huge increases, which have placed the federal shelter system near capacity, are due not to an influx of children entering the country, but a reduction in the number being released to live with families and other sponsors…

Or – perish the thought – returned to their own families.

Colors of Confinement

❝ In 1942, Bill Manbo and his family were forced from their Hollywood home into the Heart Mountain Relocation Center, a Japanese American internment camp in Wyoming. While there, Manbo documented both the bleakness and beauty of his surroundings using Kodachrome film—a technology then just seven years old—to capture community celebrations and to record his family’s struggle to maintain a normal life under the harsh conditions of racial imprisonment.

We live in a nation cruel enough, racist, sufficiently ignorant to repeat both the crime and folly of concentration camps for Americans judged by their religion, ethnicity, whatever trips the trigger of bigotry.

I fear we may yet repeat this crime.

Christie says “track immigrants like FedEx packages”

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said on Saturday if he were elected president he would combat illegal immigration by creating a system to track foreign visitors the way FedEx tracks packages.

Christie, who is well back in the pack seeking the Republican nomination for president, told a campaign event in the early voting state of New Hampshire that he would ask FedEx Chief Executive Officer Fred Smith to devise the tracking system.

Immigration has become a top issue in the Republican campaign, with front-runner Donald Trump vowing to deport all of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants and to build a wall along the southern border…

The Republican clown show is getting so desperate to out-demagogue each other that Scott Walker is now proposing a wall blocking access to the US from Canada.

Christie has been lagging in recent opinion polls and is in danger of not making the top 10 candidates who will participate in the next official Republican debate on Sept. 16.

With real estate mogul Trump taking a hard line on illegal immigration, other Republican candidates in the 2016 White House race have sought to toughen their stances as well.

Christie did not say specifically how the system he proposes would track people the same way packages are tracked by FedEx, which scans a bar code on the package at each step in the delivery process.

The concept hasn’t changed much since the Nazis catalogued folks with tattoos before they warehoused and killed them in concentration camps. Christie just wants to modernize things.

More tech-oriented Republicans [Carly Fiorina?] might prefer injecting RFID tags under the skin. Tidier.