Border crisis: Are those on the other side human beings?

drowned man and daughter crossing Rio Grande
This picture of a El Salvadoran man and his daughter drowned while trying to escape debilitating poverty and violence, made headlines world wide. In the US the photo which serves as a condemnation of US border policy had a brief shelf life.

The human rights violation, the immorality occurring at the US southern border is not an aberration, but simply an extension and reflection of European policy toward the colored peoples of the world in general and US settler colony in specific.  The difference currently however is the blatant violation of the rules of decency and the more obvious indifference and the display of cruelty for all to see.

Some continue to claim that the meanness being displayed is inconsistent with US values, ‘the US is exceptional’ they maintain. But the US is exceptional primarily in its ability to hide the truth about its true nature, its true goals and intentions. And the US working class is exceptional in its miss-education about the nations true history.  It is exceptional because it willingly allows itself to be duped by its government. And it is exceptional in its talent for self-deception, convincing itself that it is something it is not and never has been, thus allowing it to do horrible things to “others,” while still maintaining a sense of moral superiority.

It is why the Asylum Officers Union recently wrote a letter to the Trump administration protesting current asylum policy claiming that it is “fundamentally contrary to the moral fabric of our Nation.” The US is a lot of things, but it is far from a moral nation. And it is held together not by morality, but unequal capitalist social, political and economic  relations codified in law and reinforced by the threat of imprisonment, violence or starvation.

Both the ruling class and its willing minions, who carry out these callous policies are in denial about its real goal, which is to maintain the US as a white dominated society: by any means necessary.  And one of the ways to do this without explaining their true intentions, is to convince us that the darker peoples are not quite human.

Therefore the present poor treatment of those at the southern US border with Mexico is simply a gross and meaner version of US immigration policy,(which has always been bi-partisan)  consistent with early policy, which from the very beginning reserved citizenship for Europeans. The first law dictating who would be allowed citizenship the Naturalization Act of 1790, restricted citizenship to “any alien, being a free white person” who had been in the U.S. for two years.

Yes White Supremacy was codified in law! Those claiming the US changed over the years are simply not aware of the history of immigration and immigration law in this country. Who gets in, or gets to stay after getting in, has historically been determined by race and to a lesser extent social status and wealth.

This helps explain the treatment the refugees are receiving at the hands of the US government. Refugee is a more accurate description because these human beings are fleeing oppressive dictatorships, economic hardship, the effects of climate change and political and domestic violence.

Incidentally, the detention camps had their start in the Obama administration, which also set records for deporting Brown and Black people, callously leaving children without parents. (go ahead look it up!) Obama did this while presenting himself as the paragon of a family man.

Cages, freezing temperatures, lights on 24 hours, denial of baths and soap, interrupting sleep, forcing people to sleep on concrete floors, separating children from parents, leaving children without proper supervision or care, poor medical attention, faulty food and water, along with leaving detainees in limbo and uncertainty, is all consistent with TORTURE! There is little doubt that this treatment would be viewed as a crime against humanity if another country were committing them.

It is impossible for those considering seeking refuge in the US not to get the message behind all this cruelty, which is, ‘don’t bring your Brown, Black, Red or Yellow behind here!’ ‘WE DON’T WANT YOU!’

And Black and Native people know, separating children from parents is not new, but a weapon in the arsenal of the White Supremacy.  Slaves in the US routinely had their children snatched from them and sold to far-away plantations. Families were separated as a matter of routine. Natives had their children snatched and sent to re-education camps/ boarding schools to “kill the Indian and save the man” as the infamous Captain Richard Pratt put it. Even today the law allows the government under the guise of family and welfare services, to snatch children from Black and Native parents on a whim, often ignoring willing relatives request to raise the children and instead placing them in White homes.

Homeland Security admits it’s using abhorrent conditions at detention centers to deter migration

What is it that explains the actions of ordinary US citizens?

Someone yelled “shoot them” (immigrants) at a Trump rally in Pensacola, Florida a few months ago and it was received with a roaring ovation. The government sought to imprison Scott Warren a member of a Christian advocacy group “No More Deaths” for aiding two migrants who had crossed the border. In her closing argument US Attorney Anna Wright tried to criminalize Warren saying, “He gave them food, he gave them water,… he did a bad thing.”

Yet another female government attorney impersonating a human being, the now infamous Sarah Fabian, argued (with a straight face) that denying detainees soap, or toothbrushes and keeping them in freezing conditions without blankets while that keeping lights on day and night were consistent with maintaining a “safe and sanitary” detention facility.

The person recently tapped to run ICE appeared on a news show in which claimed that those who have come to the US under 17 are “so-called minors” because they are gang members in waiting, he said he could tell that by “looking in their eyes.”

These are not ghetto dwellers. These are not people normally considered hoodlums,  thugs, or savages. The list of people participating in this atrocity includes lots of well educated professionals, bureaucrats and workers, many who come from affluent suburban homes and small towns on clean tree lined streets, where they received the best of education and went on to attend the best of US schools and enjoyed the best the US has to offer.

How is that they  enjoyed the best of what America has to offer but are now behaving like thugs, hoodlums, savages? Because surely these people were raised properly (some in Christian homes)  and can distinguish right from wrong. The only logical explanation is that the migrants, refugees, asylum seekers however one chooses to refer to them, are not human beings in their eyes, but some “other.” 

And of course the other explanation is that there was something in US schooling which is part pedagogy and part indoctrination which highlights the the superiority of the US and Western civilization and the sanctity of the free market and capitalism.

“This stain on America’s soul will not wash out with an election cycle,” wrote attorney Ken White in an article on the border crisis in the “The Atlantic.” “It will only change when Americans demand that the government treat the least of us as both the law and our values require.”

Unfortunately the writer got it only half right. The law and “their” values (that is the values of the US bourgeoisie and all those who agree with them) require that some form of this blatant discrimination and inhumanity continue. The charge for all well-meaning human beings living in these United States should be to oppose the law and the values that make this a necessity and build a movement to oppose it and do it right soon!

justice then peace


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