Cheryl Cook: Punish the children: Trump’s ‘pound of flesh’ strategy
When the Nazi soldiers, armed with machine guns, came to take their neighbors away, the community watched. Some hid behind curtains. Others jeered.
How did it happen? A tyrannical leader had substituted the critical thinking skills of an entire population with the constant clamor of fear-mongering and anti-semitism.
Hitler believed in a pure culture.
Hitler promoted an extreme form of Nationalism and denounced racial corruption.
He despised Internationalism (globalism) as an ideology that affirmed the equality of all men.
And Hitler came to power when the German economy was surging upward following a devastating war.
In the United States from 1942 to 1945, the soldiers came for Japanese Americans. Some watched from behind curtains and others jeered while they were taken from their homes, farms, and businesses. They were isolated in internment camps for years based solely on their country of origin.
ICE raids are scheduled to begin mid July. This president blames Nancy Pelosi for the raids because the House hasn’t taken action to tighten asylum laws. Shutting down the government for a month, locking children up, and ordering ICE raids on families. Once again, this administration uses the suffering of people to exact his “pound of flesh” strategy in making a deal.
In April 2018, President Donald Trump ordered a zero tolerance approach to deter illegal immigration and push for tougher legislation with the removal of undocumented children from asylum seeking families and placement in overcrowded camps.
United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet has stated that the detention of migrant children in these conditions constitutes cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment that is prohibited under international law.
For those Americans who argue that the reason to turn them away at the border is the unfair burden of cost to taxpayers: The current cost to taxpayers at approximately $775 per night per child is three times the cost of putting them in a permanent facility or reuniting them with their parents.
For those Americans who argue that the undocumented are criminals: Undocumented people commit crimes and are incarcerated at a much lower rate per capita than the citizen population.
For those who argue that being undocumented is a crime: In 1929, it was a white supremacist senator, Coleman Blease, who introduced a law criminalizing those who did not cross the border at an entry point. It is currently a misdemeanor offense.
For those who fear the replacement of American culture as you know it: Virtually every new influx of religious and ethnic populations have been met with the same concerns throughout American history.
We may never have experienced poverty, hunger, violence or persecution in our lifetime, but our ancestors probably did.
Our first U.S. Naturalization Law In 1790 required that immigrants applying for citizenship be free White persons of good character.
Despite large numbers of Irish and German Catholic immigrants joining the union Army, they were targeted as under the control of the Pope in Rome and possibly hostile to American culture and values.
In 1882, Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act which curtailed legal immigration of Chinese .
When an influx of Catholic and Jewish immigrants began in the late 1800s, nativists feared that they wouldn’t be assimilated into the American culture.
But this president’s zero tolerance policy is not just a tough stance on immigration. Cruelty is not toughness. This is inhumane punishment of innocent children who are suffering irreparable emotional and physical abuse and neglect.
It is state-sponsored child abuse.
And when an alleged sexual assault of a 14-year-old detainee by a border patrol agent is not reported to State Licensing or the DOJ, it is a cover up.
When South Florida federal prosecutors sign a Federal non-prosecution agreement with a serial child molestor who happens to be rich and well-connected, it is a cover-up.
The Catholic hierarchy covers up for their own. The rich and powerful have always covered up for their own. But when our own constitutional Judicial System is involved with a non-prosecution deal involving a well-connected billionaire and underage teens, it is a direct hit to the pillars that support our country’s courts and laws.
That rotten smell we detect in the dark corners of a private courtroom agreement is the moral and ethical decay of our justice system.
When voters of any political persuasion deny that the moral character of our presidents, Supreme Court Justices, or federal prosecutors matter, they are complicit in the spiraling corruption of government.
Are you jeering at the undocumented children who sit huddled in cages like animals and attacking the Americans who empathize with their plight with shouts of, “You hate America”?
Are you hiding behind a curtain of patriotism or religion that camouflages a cultural history of fearing the “other?”
Who are the real criminals?
Convicted serial pedophiles with friends in high places who get freed to their plush office each day of their incarceration to continue business as usual or innocent children who remain locked away in tents and cages whose sleeping mats get removed as punishment when they complain of the strong chlorine taste in the water they cannot drink, their constant hunger, or their cries for their parents?
Open borders don’t work, but neither does the criminal incarceration of children. What would work is a common sense immigration policy and sensible process that still treats undocumented immigrants with respect. But this administration plays the immigration card as if people were pawns in a game.
You can watch quietly from your window without getting involved. You can jeer and attack the undocumented. Or you can step up and be a voice of moral conscience for this country.
Crossing the border illegally is misdemeanor. The serial molestation of underage girls is felony of the second degree in Florida.
So who do we punish and who do we protect?
Cheryl Cook lives Penn Valley.
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