“That concentration camps [existed, and]…there [was] considerable difference[s] in the treatment of their inmates… [all were established by a] totalitarian regime…under the pretext of ‘national security’…[for the] unrestricted and arbitrary domination of [the] stateless and refugees.”
― Hannah Arendt
In the quote above, Hannah Arendt was speaking about the Nazi concentration camps throughout Europe during WWII. But it is apropos, vis-a-vis America’s immigration policies, today.
The Nazi “concentration” camps obviously differed as night is to day to our “internment” camps for our Japanese citizens in that war. And our “detention” camps today for illegal immigrants and asylum seekers are not in any way otherwise comparable, except in the intent and results in the use of concentration camps (in Germany’s case then) to remove, and (in our case today) to keep out, “undesirable” peoples from assimilation into the preferred society.
These “others” were then, as are they today, demonized as enemies to national security – as murderers, rapists, criminals of all stripes, burdens on society, even as “infesting” “animals” – falsely, through the use of propaganda to gain public support for the administration’s actions.
Trump and his ilk either knows no history or is merely indifferent to the lessons it teaches, which is allowing it to be repeated, albeit in smaller and less inhumane measure.
Our new immigration policy is tribalism, pure and simple. Read my post “Tribes Redux” (Dec. 1, 2016).
Trump has obviously forgotten his Irish ancestors who, in search of a better life, came here during Ireland’s potato famine.
And while they, at the time, were considered and treated as “other” and subject to the same false propaganda by the “preferred” society of that day, as he is doing to the would-be immigrants of today, they were nonetheless allowed entry and citizenship.
Because our past policies of inclusion (that made America that “shining beacon” for the world’s tired, poor, and oppressed) we still believed in.
Where would he be today if his immigrant forefathers had been put into a concentration camp upon arrival, then jailed as a criminal, only after to be sent back to Ireland?
One would think that he’d feel the humanitarian shame of the Nazi concentration camps or of our Japanese internment camps, or how children are being torn away from and separated from their parents in today’s immigration and asylum detention camps.
But maybe he doesn’t feel any shame.
I’ll close with my last statement in my post “Hypocrisy in America Today” (Feb. 16, 2017), about immigration:
“If things continue to go in the direction we are going, it will be hypocritical to claim we’re a ‘Christian nation’ (“But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” – 1 John 3:17). I am not a prophet, I have no divine revelation, but I do worry about Jesus’ warning about punishment if America reneges on its promises and duty to our fellow man.”