North Texas Daily

The incarceration of migrant children is tantamount to genocide

The incarceration of migrant children is tantamount to genocide

The incarceration of migrant children is tantamount to genocide
November 07
12:41 2019

The initial, entirely warranted nationwide indignation that followed Donald Trump’s mass incarceration of migrant children has since been reduced to a familiar sense of resignation for many of his opponents.

The sheer amount of scandal defining Trump’s presidency has had the undoubtedly intended effect of overwhelming his detractors. While their subsequent burnout is understandable, it is also indefensible, because both the actions and inactions inflicted on these children have proven tantamount to genocide.

Some of the “punishable acts” the International Alliance to End Genocide have listed as indicators of genocide include “deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to destroy a group,” “forcible transfer of children,” and “causing serious bodily or mental harm,” all three of which are indisputably applicable to the situation at hand. It should also be noted that the first offense, “killing members of the group,” refers both to murder and actions meant to eliminate the demographic that aren’t directly murderous.

The Trump administration would not be happy with this emphasis on the lack of distinction between negligent homicide and, well, homicide. Between this ongoing infraction and Trump’s aggressively indifferent response to the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory he should provide for, it can be inferred that his administration will continue to callously commit negligent genocide against Latino communities. This will continue as long as they can rely on their supporters to overestimate the difference between shooting someone in the head and witholding food from them as they starve.

Last May, NBC News reported that at least seven migrant children had died in ICE custody of health complications, delayed medical treatment and exposure to freezing temperatures. In June, they reported that twenty four adult immigrants had also died while detained, and last February, NPR revealed that thousands of migrant children had been the victims of sexual assault during their confinment. Allegations have arisen within the El Paso, Arizona and Rio Grande Valley sectors.

According to the Texas Tribune, immigrant toddlers were ordered to testify on their own behalf in court, and unlike U.S. citizens, immigrants are not automatically assigned a lawyer if they cannot afford one. The Trump administration is toying with the idea of revoking citizenship, and, as confirmed by the L.A. Times, migrant children are now being held at Fort Still, the site of a notorious concentration camp that housed Japanese Americans during World War II.

Over the past few months I have written about a number of relevant issues, but none so as crucial as this.

I’m ashamed to say that I put off writing about this topic, solely because I knew that what I had to say had already been said before by a myriad of scholars and civilians. Then I realized that repetition and unanimity are exactly what our society needs more of if we are to rectify the situation.

Following the spirited backlash he received after the establishment of his glorified concentration camps, Trump was ordered by the courts to dissolve the detention centers. This proved to be a hollow gesture meant only to appease the masses, but if it did anything, it exemplified the power of public perception.

If we as non-genocidal members of society could just sustain that degree of energy and conviction for longer than a few measly months, we could bring an end to this particular assault on civil liberties.

If the Trump administration has refrained from actively murdering any interned migrants, it is only because their immigration policies have been proven effective as a shotgun.

Those moved to assist in ending this genocide should consider donating to RAICES, a nonprofit that provides legal aid to incarcerated immigrants.

Featured Illustration: Jae-Eun Suh

About Author

Rachel Card

Rachel Card

Rachel Card is a junior majoring in public relations and minoring in sociology. She was born in Austin, Texas, and is currently quarantining there with her family and three dogs.

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