Editorial: Situation is unacceptable
“Evil walks among us, wearing a mask which looks like all our faces.” (Dean Koontz).
It wears suits, dresses, even uniforms. It speaks for us, claims us as its own, champions horrors and names them as our values.
It captures and imprisons children, hides them from their parents, who are caged, too. And we must stop or it will belong to us all, it will be our history, it will be our shame. We must stop it.
When the country, and the Russians, elected Donald Trump president, we did not know the true face of evil. But now we do. Evil was not a superficial wall that, laughingly, would be paid for by Mexico, that was but the distraction.
The distraction from the evil that has tried to hide in darkness, the evil that asks us all to look away from those who see the brown-skinned Other as less than ourselves.
For it is only when the children of the Other can be demonized, be it as gang members, mules for drugs, anchor babies, disease-filled, ignorant babies who certainly do not deserve responsible medical treatment, a bed in their cage or a toothbrush.
No, these luxuries our children not only deserve, but, if denied, would result in a public outrage that could not be sustained for a single day, much less the ongoing days the torture of immigrants continues.
What is happening is not just bedless children, hopelessly disconnected from their parents, but children, cold and with but one blanket, children sleeping in lighted cages 24 hours, day and night. These are children contracting lice, or a dangerous flu that sent five in McAllen’s facility to neonatal intensive care.
They are children without enough food, without clean water, they are babies without diapers.
Who are the caregivers, that oversee this horror and allow it to continue even one more day?
They are the Trump Border Patrol, performing their duties exactly as Trump would have them.
They are those who told a brown-skinned captive who asked for water, “If you want water, just drink from a toilet,” as cited by U.S. Rep. Judy Chu, D-California.
These are the CBP personnel who threatened to throw burritos at congresswomen, who laughed at a congressional delegation. They are the CBP people who are unfit to serve in any capacity and are out of control of anyone but the president who welcomes their senseless brutality.
And all this happens when it need not happen at all. It is an imposed cruelty by a president who sees the inhumanity as a deterrent to those seeking asylum in the U.S.
Yes, the president who told us other countries send us their murderers and rapists, who demonized people coming here only to flee abject poverty, dangerous gang violence, food shortages, and a lack of law enforcement.
They are families, threatened with persecution, hoping to legally seek asylum.
Our laws allow them the asylum opportunity and protect their due process. But in Trump government, many are not permitted to even apply for asylum.
They are told there are only a few applications daily and they must wait across the border. They are alternatively arrested and detained when they legally present themselves at our border. They are held for months, perhaps years, without the due process our laws require.
And they are held based upon the lies of this president.
Trump refuses to release asylum seekers from detention, this creating these prisons, these concentration camps, across America.
All of it based upon his false claim that only three percent show up for their asylum hearings. The facts are that between 89 and 92 percent of asylum seekers show up for their hearing, and if they were released from the prisons where they are abused today, the process would work as it always has, with about 20 percent of asylum applications being approved.
Evil walks among us.
Jim Crawford is a retired educator, political enthusiast and award-winning columnist living here
in the Tri-State.