There are issues that feel and are so personal that even writing and thinking about them take a toll. However, we must do so, because the people suffering need us to be aware and to sound our voices and to call our elected officials and hold them accountable.
Last year Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez accused the Trump administration of running concentration camps on our southern border and the conservative media lost their minds. But, she was right. She was right then and the recent revelations from a whistle blower prove her words to be true.
Just this week Dawn Wooten, a former nurse who worked at an immigration detention center in Georgia, filed a complain alleging a number of abuses against immigrants, including forced hysterectomies on immigrant women. Many of my white friends had a reaction of “This can’t possibly be true!” I envy their naivete.
The history of the United States forcefully sterilizing people of color and anyone the ruling white class deemed undesirable is long. It’s a shameful ableist and xenophobic history; one that inspired actual Nazis, as in Hitler personally.
“There is today one state,” wrote Hitler, “in which at least weak beginnings toward a better conception [of citizenship] are noticeable. Of course, it is not our model German Republic, but the United States.”
And if forced sterilization of immigrant women wasn’t disturbing enough, the complain also alleges a long history of abuse and denying sick patients any help. This is particularly heinous because we’re living under the scourge of a once in a lifetime pandemic that has killed 200,000 Americans already. But, it’s no surprise that this administration and its enforcers are treating immigrants this way.
The president has spent 5 years calling immigrants “animals” and “rapists” and “thugs.” Genocide prevention experts have warned for years that using dehumanizing language is a precursor to genocide, that it leads to people in power see those who are demonized as “sub-human.” That’s been happening under this administration for a while now. That a baby can be ripped off the arms of a nursing mother and that doesn’t cause Trump supporters to lose any sleep is terrifying and depressing.
Are we not human, too? Are we not worthy of respect and dignity? Is asking for asylum or crossing a border worthy of forced sterilizations or sexual abuse or death by neglect?
It’s time to close the camps. It’s time to abolish ICE, an organization that was founded in 2003 and has caused countless of deaths and abuses of immigrants of all ages. This is not left or right, Democrat or Republican, this is a human rights issue.
We need to get active and loud about this. We will not allow the “family values” people to ignore these human rights issues. This is about the soul of America. This is about the country that we want to be and not the illusion that the history books try and teach us. Please, contact your representatives and demand that they support an investigation into these allegations and to close the camps.