Tag: war on immigration

The New Caravan

Federal agents policing cities is a total campaign-as-reality-show move, just like the caravans were in 2018. Enough legit story there to ensure coverage, attention-getting footage. “The caravans” was a “get out the vote” instead of “appeal to voters” strategy — make sure your voters fear the possibility of loss to ensure they show up. Caravan fear didn’t work well in 2018, so it’s not exactly a fail-proof strategy.
Why didn’t it work? Well, for one — people had bigger concerns. Republicans want to throw my 22-year-old kid off my health insurance, and they promise preexisting conditions aren’t coming back but have no answer for how that becomes financially sustainable to private insurers. Those are really personal concerns, whereas an invasion of caravans was a far more abstract concern.
But the caravans weren’t the boogie monster Trump made them out to be either. There was a pastor in Texas — Gavin Rogers — who spent time traveling with one of the “caravans” that I thought did a really good job of humanizing those refugees. I’m sure there were others, but he had a pretty public media tour and gained a lot of followers. Without having empathy for other people, I can see how Trump couldn’t fathom people having sympathy for refugees … and, yeah, there were some news agencies promoting racist views and villainizing “the caravans” even after stories about people fleeing cartel violence started airing.
In 2020, he’s replacing ‘caravans’ with ‘protesters’ — which seems even less likely to succeed. And not just because employer-based health care amid a pandemic an economic collapse means people have *way* bigger problems than protesters. And that protesters out in the big city are still a fairly abstract concern for the majority of the country. Not to mention voter’s desire for competent disaster response. The protesters seem like they’d be a lot more generally sympathetic than refugees — protesters are Americans, a huge majority of Americans think police brutality is a problem that needs to be addressed. I had a good discussion with an acquaintance a few weeks ago — she didn’t see why sports players had to kneel in protest when there were so many other ways they could have talked about whatever they wanted to talk about. I’m sorry you were uncomfortable, but do you think the message needed to get out there? (And, post George Floyd, she totally thought the message needed to get out there). Those people did try many other ways to communicate the problem. People ignored the protest until the form of protest selected made people uncomfortable. So, evidently they did need to kneel at public sporting events. Maybe protesters today need to destroy some property for people to take notice too.

Better than a dog kennel

Looks like reporters have been allowed in to the detention facilities for kids separated from their families for immigration violations —  and some Twitter commentary from one of the NBC correspondents
Like the Russian sanctions that were enacted exceptionally slowly (allowing targets ample time to transfer assets around to minimize impact), it’s been over a week since Senator Merkley attempted to visit. That’s a lot of time to make the place look nice. And beyond the crazy murals (pretty sure the one on Twitter says “sometimes, in losing a battle, you find a new way to win the war” which … just doesn’t seem like a sentiment you want to convey to *kids ripped from their families and dumped into prison-like detainment facilities*), reporters think ‘prison’ when they tour the place. A step up from “dog kennel”, I guess, but remember these are the photos *approved* for release by HHS!
This report makes the recent initiative to house the kids in tent camps (on military bases & possibly other federal properties) more frightening. The current centers are licensed and operated by people who at least theoretically have some experience dealing with kids. Those tent camps – one of the things that makes them a quick solution is Trump & co don’t want to require licensed operators. What reporters see is the cleaned up version of what licensed professionals managed to do with an influx of kids. What do you think some random grifter looking to make a few bucks off the feds will manage? The whole thing reminds me of the ‘assembly centers’ for Japanese internment back in the 1940’s (WW2).
And if you’re not familiar with Japanese interment — started with Executive Order 9066 and more or less ended with a Supreme Court ruling, Endo v. United States (1944) (a ruling terrifying in and of itself — like the recent bigot baker case where the Court skips over the Constitutionality of the actual law to focus on comments made during the adjudicating process, the Endo case did not address the propriety of the underlying action — that is, they didn’t say the government was wrong to exclude people of a specific ancestry from parts of the country {an act which Korematsu v. United States (1944) upheld} but rather that the country could not continue to detain individuals who had been conceded to be loyal to the US). Which is all a very long way of saying we’ve been down this path before. It was repugnant to take American citizens and throw them into temporary encampments to “help” them relocate after they were excluded from the area where their home happened to be. The implementation ensured suffering — food shortages, overcrowded conditions, isolation from family.
A few years ago, EO 9066 was displayed next to Reagan’s act which officially acknowledged just how shitty the EO was and officially apologized for the evacuation, relocation, and internment undertaken in the EO. The juxtaposition of the two documents was a powerful reminder, in post-9/11 America, that actions which seem justified by ensuring the nation’s security are egregious violations of human rights and civil liberties.