The Oakland Post

Political Focus: How the U.S. lost any semblance of a moral compass in one fell swoop

Ben Hume, Staff Reporter

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On June 19, 2018, the United States withdrew from the UN Human Rights Council. This move capped one of the worst stretches of U.S. humanitarian treatment since the Japanese internment camps of World War II. Our disgusting decision to leave the Human Rights Council was after other members of the council berated us for our zero tolerance policy of immigrants at the southern border. Drawing much bipartisan rage in the past few weeks, the Trump administration was forced to partially walk back on some of their family separation policies. But this administration is far from out of the woods yet, and far from being seen as capable of human emotion.

The zero tolerance immigration policy is nothing unique to the Trump administration unfortunately, but his administration is the one responsible for the specific policy of family separation. You see, Trump’s policy for immigration is harsh and isolationist, exactly what his voter base wanted from him. This thought process is what fuels the fettishization of the Mexican border and everything that goes with it; the magical border wall, the ICE deportations and the hate speech.

The problem for Trump and his zealots is that moderate and suburban Republicans are not all as racist and isolationist as they are, and this reflects in his inability to get support for his border wall in congress.

Here is where the child internment camps come in. Trump used the zero tolerance policy precedent to separate illegal immigrant families at the border. His excuse is that he wants to make an example of them and deter anyone else from crossing the border illegally. Of course, this excuse has so many holes in it that simply looking at it too hard would cause the argument to sink. There is no way for us to convince that the United States is more dangerous than any crime ridden central and South American countries that these immigrants are running from. In practice, this zero tolerance policy turned into tent cities being built to collectively hold a few thousand immigrant children, newly orphaned after being separated from their guardians.

And the mistreatment doesn’t stop there. Tornillo, Texas has been in the spotlight for the particularly uncomfortable treatment—temperatures reaching 106 degrees fahrenheit with minimal bedding and air conditioning. This is certainly not the only example of harmful treatment—recently, audio was secretly recorded and released by ProPublica, where children can be heard screaming and crying. One adult male, presumably a border agent, can be heard saying, “Well, we have an orchestra here,” and “What’s missing is a conductor.” If this doesn’t immediately concern you, you may be a part of the problem.

And here’s where we seem to be currently—Trump has accused Democrats of being the reason for this family separation (multiple political sites have shown this to be very untrue), tried using the separated children as collateral to get funding for his border wall, then finally did a partial walkback on the policy. Now don’t think that the internment camps are gone, far from it. The only difference now is that illegal immigrant families will be locked up together rather than separated. But the new facilities to hold families are not done being built, and so it is unclear if families will still be separated in the interim period. There is also no indication of a government effort to reunite the separated children.

And through all of this, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has the audacity to quote the Bible in support of Trump’s decisions. But I suppose even the devil quoted scripture.

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