March 25, 2023

Trump’s deportation force was just exposed using a trick right out of the Nazi playbook

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The media coverage of the Trump administration’s sadistic immigration policies, especially the new “No Tolerance” decree that tears children away from their families to be thrown into cages on military bases, died down almost immediately with Roseanne Barr’s decision to tweet out some appalling racism — but that doesn’t mean the crisis has abated.

Stories about the gleeful cruelty of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) and their fellow thugs in the Border Patrol are a dime a dozen these days, but a new report from the Border Patrol detention center in McAllen, Texas, evokes horrifying memories of the Holocaust and should give pause to anyone trying to defend the appalling apparatus of ethnic cleansing that our nation has constructed for its immigrant population.

Boston Globe reporter Liz Goodwin spoke with public defender Azalea Aleman-Bendiks in South Texas, who recounted to her how immigrants are being told their kids are being taken away for “bathing” before later realizing that they’ve been stolen from them and shipped away to an unknown prison camp. They might never see them again.

“This is a tragedy that’s happening right before this court” said Aleman-Bendiks to a judge during one of the mass immigration trials that are now a regular occurrence in Texas. “There’s a very real possibility the parent will be deported without their children.”

Influential public figures were quick to draw parallels to the use of “showers” as an excuse used by the Nazis to take children from their parents before systematically exterminating them during the Holocaust.

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Let’s get one thing clear. The crimes of the Trump administration obviously pales in comparison to the unimaginable horrors of the Holocaust, and this is not an attempt to equate the two in any way or to detract from the horrors perpetrated by the Nazi regime.

That being said, the normalization of this kind of behavior – concentrating ethnic minorities in camps based on arbitrary qualifiers like nationality – is the first step on the road to much greater ethnic crimes.

When considered in the wider context of a president actively pushing a white nationalist agenda in an administration staffed with racists intent on preserving the demographic supremacy of white people and then persecutes them with such an unholy enthusiasm, it’s clear that the time to sound the alarms is now.

The Holocaust didn’t begin with death camps. It began with insignias. It began with people being pulled off of buses after being forced to present their papers. It began with random hate crimes. It began with terror raids and mass arrests. It began with a dictatorial leader who smeared a vulnerable minority group as “animals” at hate rallies. It began with minorities herded into camps and forced to labor for the profits of a faceless corporation.

President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions are setting our nation down a path of no return. Our nation was founded on the genocide of its original native populations, so let’s dispense with the pearl-clutching over the idea that this could never happen here. The fundamental humanity of immigrants is being called into question, and we must defend them with every fiber of our being.

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If the Democratic Party wants to really be the defender of minorities and immigrants that it claims to be, the next Democratic nominee for president must be willing to challenge law enforcement and pledge to dismantle the ethnic cleansing apparatus constructed over the past two decades.

ICE must be disbanded and its members prosecuted for their appalling cruelty. The detention centers must be shut down, the private prison corporations that enslave detained migrants forced to pay reparations to their victims and their executive officers prosecuted.

There is still much debate to be had on the subject of immigration to America. The crisis will only get worse as global warming accelerates and resource scarcity provokes mass migrations — and we must be ready with an answer for what we will do.

Because when that happens, there’s going to be only two real options: amnesty, with the required redistribution of resources that embracing large numbers of people will inevitably demand, or genocide.

The conservatives have already made it clear that they choose genocide; it’s now up to the rest of us to decide what kind of a nation we really want to be and what kind of burden we’re willing to lay on our collective conscience.

Colin Taylor

Managing Editor

Colin Taylor is the managing editor of the Washington Press. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice, equality, and universal health care in America.

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