Thursday, June 21, 2018

This Isn’t The Worst It Will Get

article image
The reactionary immigration policies of the Democratic Party, which have come from the party’s centrist impulse to simply “enforce the law,” have been taken under Trump into an active hatred for the people these laws target. This has lead to these laws being escalated in a way that shows just how dark a place the country has entered into.

The “zero tolerance” policy, instituted by Trump in May, is a blatant attack on the ethnic group of the southern immigrants who it’s designed to harm. Before the policy, crossing the border without documentation was considered a misdemeanor, not a felony like how zero tolerance defines it as.
This has caused a massive increase in the amount of children who are being taken from their parents at the border. An increase that, despite Trump’s publicly denouncing the idea of separating families, is clearly embraced by the Trump White House and is being planned for further expansion; the Trump administration made plans earlier this week for building enough new child detention centers to hold 30,000 children by August.
The issue has been presented by Trump’s spokespeople in comforting terms: these parents have broken the law, so putting the kids in “foster care” is only a routine practice for protecting our borders. Aside from how the conditions in these “foster” facilities have been found to be abusive, and how Trump’s zero tolerance policy is a cruel perversion of the usual immigration laws, to support this practice is to endorse a brutally unjust U.S. immigration model-a model that Trump has only built on.
For decades, people who’ve entered the United States to escape danger and extreme poverty have been punished by the U.S. immigration system. The process of getting citizenship has made it impossible for many of them to simply “enter the country legally.” The fee for applying for naturalization is currently $750, something a poor person has virtually no hope of coming up with. And the waiting periods for applying take up to five years, giving someone who’s urgently trying to escape their country’s conditions the options of seeking a green card, entering American society illegally, or staying in their own desperate location. The separation of families who try to cross the border is based off of these racist laws.
In short, the United States is again the land of internment camps, like it was with the persecution of the Japanese during World War II. And it won’t end here.
Trump’s being pressured yesterday into partially repealing the zero tolerance policy is only a tactical retreat from the viciously reactionary Trump White House. Stephen Miller, who was behind the policy, has not been fired, and neither have officials who’ve openly defended the policy like Jeff Sessions and Kirstjen Nielsen. Trump’s media spokespeople have shown they’re happy to defend detaining children at the border as a “get tough” deterrent policy, and surveys have shown that most of Trump’s base supports it too.
And the executive order Trump just signed has no way of reuniting the separated families, while continuing the policy of treating all who illegally cross the border as if they’d committed additional crimes. This order was also made a day after Trump made a tweet comparing immigrants to vermin.
It wasn’t a surprise that they could implement the policy. The Trump White House has already succeeded at making ICE more aggressive, further militarizing police, giving law enforcement the ability to seize property with impunity, remaking the DOJ’s definition of whistleblowing to include all government leakers, passing a religiously directed travel ban against Muslim countries, and openly merging state power with corporate power.
What’s most alarming is that if the Trump White House had tried this a year ago, it seems doubtful that it would have been carried out. There’s no telling how the political landscape will look like in the coming years. We need to fight back before the walls of authoritarianism completely close in.

No comments:

Post a Comment