Comparing any element of our current administration to the Third Reich would certainly be construed as “overly dramatic” by some. However, as more and more reports come to light, it becomes increasingly apparent that both the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the United States Border Patrol are operating in a cruel and chaotic manner that is certainly reminiscent of the internment camps of World War II.
A recent article from the Boston Globe described the Trump administration’s heart-wrenching practice of separating young immigrant children from their parents at the border — and, in many cases, never reuniting them. The current administration views this practice as a tool with which to deter future illegal immigrants from coming to the country.
“If people don’t want to be separated from their children, they should not bring them with them,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said during a recent radio interview. “We’ve got to get this message out.”
If this cold-hearted approach weren’t chilling enough, there are many anecdotes which draw an undeniable comparison between ICE/Border Patrol and the Nazis of the 1940s.
1. ICE is providing deplorable living conditions.
When ICE detains families, they make no effort to provide even a modicum of comfort or basic necessities in their detention centers.
According to a Facebook post from a woman who was on a flight with an ICE detainee, the living conditions were truly despicable:
She told me they had slept on the floor each night and given only a small blanket that she described as nylon material. The AC was turned up high and they were very cold … They were unable to shower for the entire duration and when her son wet himself from the trauma they endured, the officers did not allow her to wash him up … She spoke of pregnant women sleeping on the hard floor.
While it’s obvious that detention centers aren’t going to have many of the comforts found in, say, a motel, forcing pregnant women to sleep on the ground under a tarp seems both cruel and unnecessary.
2. They are also using deception to separate families.
According to Boston Globe reporter Liz Goodwin, children are occasionally taken away from their families under the guise of being “taken away briefly to bathe.”
By the time the parents realize what has happened, it’s already too late.
(If you’ll recall, Nazis told their detainees that they would be taking showers to prevent lice and infection, and ended up releasing carbon monoxide instead.)
3. Families are kept in the dark about the location of their loved ones.
In the United States, crossing the border illegally is a misdemeanor. However, families are detained in such a way that their children are taken away, and there is a very real possibility that the parents will never see them again unless they hire a lawyer.
As the Boston Globe reports, “once parents have served their time for that minor federal offense, they still can face months in ICE detention, often with no idea where their children are.”
4. There is a growing collection of personal items confiscated from immigrants at the border.
The New Yorker photographs of the seized belongings of immigrants, which include a myriad of rosaries, are highly sobering.
Of course, it’s fairly obvious that there are some disturbing similarities between this collection and the gold teeth, shoes, and eyeglasses taken from Jewish people at concentration camps.
5. Border patrol agents have randomly boarded buses to demand that people show documentation.
One woman’s recent Facebook post describes how she was riding on a Greyhound bus traveling from Bakersfield to Las Vegas when Border Patrol agents boarded and told passengers that they would need to see “documentation” — highly similar to the Gestapo asking people for their “papers.”
The woman writes, “I stand up and yell ‘I’m not showing you sh*t! I’m not driving this bus, so you have NO RIGHT to ask me for anything! And the rest of you guys don’t have to show them anything, either! This is harassment and racial profiling! Don’t show them a gotdamn thing! We are not within 100 miles of a border so they have NO LEGAL RIGHT or jurisdiction here! GOOGLE IT!’”
The agents begrudgingly got off the bus — but if this particular passenger hadn’t been vocal about the violation of her rights, this situation could have been much worse.
6. Parents may very well be deported without their children.
Most heartbreaking of all, it is entirely plausible that the parents will be deported from the country without their children. This is due to the fact that the children are usually involved in their own legal dispute over whether or not they can remain in the country.
“If the children’s parents lose their bids to stay in the United States and are deported, it may take weeks or even months for their children to follow them, since they are on separate legal tracks,” the Globe reports.
The unsettling resemblance between ICE detention centers and WWII internment camps was not lost on many …
However, as we are all aware, America certainly has its own dark and sordid history with internment camps.
It’s an ugly and incontrovertible truth that legislation must tackle these issues immediately — otherwise, we risk repeating some of the most despicable periods in human history.