Dhaka, Bangladesh
The GOP's white supremacy now has a smoking gun

The GOP's white supremacy now has a smoking gun

Farther north, at the US-Mexico border, deaths like those of Martinez and Valeria are a tragically routine occurrence. On the same day that the father and daughter perished, three young children and a 20-year-old woman were also found lifeless from what appeared to be dehydration and excessive heat. The Texas Civil Rights Project placed the blame for the border deaths squarely at the feet of the Trump administration, saying, "When the government creates policies that make it harder to cross the border safely, people die. Children die." And here in the US, conditions facing immigrant detainees, particularly children, have made headlines in recent days with disturbing reports from Border Patrol facilities in Clint, Texas, which told of "dangerous overcrowding" and a total lack of access to basic hygiene for children as young as one year old. Children remained locked in cages, suffered from the flu with no treatment, and older children were tasked with caring for younger ones in what can only be described as a "concentration camp" environment. Although the children were moved out of the facility after the outcry, about 100 were relocated back to the same facility just days later. Another detention center, in Calexico, Calif., was found to be operating in a similarly dangerous fashion. In May, reports emerged of migrants needing medical attention being shackled while receiving treatment. So far, at least seven children have died in US custody. For those who remain outside of US custody, the looming threat of deportation raids at Trump's behest by the dreaded Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has generated mass fear. There are countless historical analogies of Trump's persecution of immigrants. Trump has used language reminiscent of Nazi Germany in that regime's pogrom against Jews in claiming that the US "is full," and that there is no room for immigrants. His administration has detained immigrants in the same facility in Oklahoma that once housed 700 people of Japanese origin during World War II. In fact, a year before the 2016 election, Trump could not even bring himself to denounce the internment of 100,000 Japanese, saying in a 2015 interview, "I would have had to be there at the time to tell you, to give you a proper answer." Rather than take clear moral positions against the appalling mistreatment of immigrants, some of Trump's supporters have decided to engage in semantics to insist that there are no concentration camps in the US. They understand the power of language to reflect on past horrors. For example, Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen maintains that because Trump's camps are not filling with the "screams of the dying," they do not deserve the term "concentration camps." While the president and his supporters clearly lack the moral compass to recognize the abuse of human beings as wrong, much of the rest of the nation does not. Anna Lind-Guzik, writing in Vox, said, "I'm a Jewish historian. Yes, we should call border detention centers 'concentration camps.' " She added, "It isn't just accurate. It's necessary." Some politicians have also taken a clear stand. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez used the term "concentration camps" to describe detention centers in mid-June and came under intense fire for it. Democratic presidential candidates such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, while gearing up for a debate in Miami this week, visited a nearby detention center in Homestead, calling attention to Trump's cruelty toward immigrants. Others, like former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke, responded to the photo of Martinez and Valeria's lifeless bodies by saying unequivocally, "Trump is responsible for these deaths." Meanwhile, employees of the online furniture seller Wayfair are protesting their company's decision to fulfill orders for detention centers holding migrants. One employee said to the press, "We're walking out in protest of our leadership's decision to sell to reprehensible concentration camps. … We want to make it clear that this is not a political issue-it's a humanitarian issue, and we will not back down." In using the term "concentration camps," the workers are showcasing their humanity and their unequivocal stand on the side of morality. Even Ravelry, a popular online knitting and crocheting website that I have used, has taken a stand. In a statement, the website eloquently and clearly explained which side it was on, saying, "We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy. Support of the Trump administration is undeniably support for white supremacy." To Trump and his supporters, immigrants are not human. Dehumanization is the first step toward exclusion, persecution and mass abuse. America needs to embrace Ravelry's courage to articulate that white supremacy and Trump are no longer welcome and that there is no room in America for fascism.

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