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Trump White House Views Migrants as Subhuman

Op/Ed By George Payne –


imagesDTHQTTSI (1)The Trump White House does not see migrants as full human beings. They see them as a horde of invading pests.

Trump himself has recently used the word “infestation” to describe immigrants from Mexico and Latin America.

That is why-despite his executive order- it doesn’t matter to his administration that children were separated from their families, and babies were detained. The children and babies are, in their minds, future rapists and murderers.

To Trump, they are like their parents: moochers, freeloaders, parasites, and aliens.

Regarding gang members specifically, but addressing all migrants, Trump has stated on more than one occasion, “You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people, these are animals, and we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before.”

Of course, this is not the first time the world has witnessed such blatant campaigns of dehumanization. Every genocide is founded on the premise that some superior group possesses humanity while another subhuman group is deemed inferior.

That’s why the Nazis referred to Jewish people as rats needing to be exterminated. That’s why the Hutu in Rwanda referred to the Tutsi as cockroaches. That’s why the Ba’ath Party in Iraq referred to the Kurds as dogs. That’s why Islamic fundamentalists refer to Americans as infidel snakes. Every war fought has been waged under a banner of hatred towards the dehumanized other.  By making families from El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico into the other, the Trump White House has waved the banner of hatred as high as their arms will reach.

The only force which can prevent humanitarian crises such as the one occurring on the border is for people of good faith and moral courage to stand up and resist. The Trump White House is not upholding the law with these policies. There is a moral law that every national law must obey. No, all Trump is doing is testing the willpower of the American citizenry. The president is straining to see how far he can go. If the American people let him get away with interning babies without their mothers, what will be next? Who will be next? Soon there will be detention centers for women who get abortions. Then there will be prisons for homosexuals. After that there will be incarceration camps for journalists who challenge the administration. Ultimately every political opponent will be locked away. And, if you think you are safe, think again. If at any time you decide to speak out, there will be a special cell with your name on it.

When the Nazis came for the Communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn’t a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

-Martin Niemöller

(George Cassidy Payne is an independent writer, residential family counselor, social justice activist, and adjunct professor of philosophy at SUNY. He lives and works in Rochester, NY.)

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