I am reminded of George Carlin’s quote that Thanksgiving is a typically American holiday: starving, we had a feast with the natives, then stole their land and killed them all. So it seems for “Dreamers” and Temporary Protected Status holders: spend 20 years or more here, then, upon deportation, have your business, home, job and family destroyed without compensation, cheered on by manipulative politicians pressing their usual buttons.
By now, videos of humans being detained by ICE are circulating on social media. With their SWAT gear in swaggering display in Candler, South Asheville, Weaverville and other places, am I one of the few remaining octogenarians who remember the SS rounding up Jews, Slavs, homosexuals and Gypsies in World War II? They considered themselves German, Polish, Italian and French, having lived decades (if not centuries) in these countries as immigrants fleeing Inquisition kangaroo courts, prejudice and ignorance.
History has been quick to judge the German population’s passivity and complicity in the face of Third Reich horrors, but are we equally complicit in these roundups against “Them” (to use this administration’s Orwellian thought-speak where, through desensitization, things that are wrong become right)? As in the case of 1930s Germany, these TPS [holders] and Dreamers who have been here decades consider themselves American, with no ties to Haiti, Nicaragua or Africa. Their only sin seems to be their skin pigmentation.
We are supposed to swallow the lies that “They” have committed crimes against our legal order, are un-American, outlaws, “not one of Us.” On that basis, that Roman criminal and outlaw, Jesus of Nazareth, deserved everything he got. But the facts are different. Just as one example, in 2010 undocumented workers paid $12 billion in … taxes for which they will never see benefits. In case you think they are stealing our jobs, when agricultural job offerings were posted for Americans — getting 4 million hits on the [United Farm Workers’] website — only 12 showed up and none of these dozen lasted more than a day in the pesticide polluted fields. A Napa Valley winery could not get a single grape picker at $20/hour.
The word “collaborationist” has lost its meaning in these eight decades since World War II, but our collective and collaborative silence and passivity is as damning as those who turned in their neighbors in Europe because they had been declared “different than us.” If you think you’re safe because you’re not one of “those people,” think again. ICE has unlawfully detained thousands of American citizens who have been imprisoned without access to lawyers for weeks, months and even years. …
[According to The Outline.com:] “ICE has no legal grounds to detain or deport U.S. citizens, but that doesn’t mean it never happens. There have been dozens of reported cases of citizens being detained after posting bail for a separate offense because ICE has placed a detainer on them, or of citizens spending weeks, months, or even years in ICE detention without speaking to a lawyer. ICE won’t release the data on how often this occurs.”
[And from a 2011 study in Virginia Journal of Social Policy & the Law:] “Each time the media reports that ICE has detained or deported a U.S. citizen, an ICE public affairs spokesperson refuses to comment on the case, ignores the evidence on hand and denies the incident occurred, or responds as though the example at hand is a freakish fluke among ICE’s entire caseload of millions.”
Apart from the Catholic and Evangelical groups, which support these immigrants, where is the religious or secular moral protest and pressure on our hypocritical politicians? We can’t change many things, but we can write, protest, march and give voice in the face of this inhumane outrage. At the very least, to save our souls.
— Richard Unanue