We don’t have a great history of how we roundup people we are suspicious of. From the Trail of Tears to Japanese American Internment camps, we have violated international human rights and Constitutional civil liberties without conscience.
History hasn’t changed
In recent memory, we have Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, minors at Riker’s Island, secretive Homan Square prison in Chicago. Here in California, our prison system was so over-crowded and inhumane, the Supreme Court had to intervene. In every single one of those numerous examples, cruel and inhumane treatment of the captured/jailed was inflicted by the captors in ways that are simply unAmerican. However, because we now have an established history of behavior, torture and neglect have become synonymous with this country’s lawful policies.
Our own people
What’s most alarming is that these horrific violations aren’t just limited to immigrants and foreigners. This has happened to American people, on American soil. From George Takei to Kalief Browder, singular names that represent an entire subset of Americans. We signed treaties with Native American tribes, but we treated them like prisoners of war, and forced them onto barren reservations against their will.
The reports coming back from immigration detention centers shows that we are simply repeating history again. Numerous stories of rape and sexual violence, unlawful detainments, overcrowding, neglect and deaths are making regular headlines, far too many to be considered minor exceptions to the rule. Unless, of course, we are content to repeat history again.
Real problems require real solutions
Illegal immigration has to be controlled. It is a real problem for America. But it has become more of a symptom of a very broken immigration system, than a problem of its own. We have to craft policy based on reality, not xenophobic fantasies. We have to develop proper and realistic pathways for needed foreign workers and for actual citizenship. We have to honor our commitments to wartime veterans who honored theirs. Our immigration problem says as much about us as it does the foreigners. Let it say that we are humane and civilized. #JusticeForAll