Proposal: Stop Being Assholes About Immigration

Admittedly, it was an intentionally provocative comment I made yesterday in a group of people who didn't want to talk about politics. Someone had brought up how she hates Trump, other were telling her to keep it to herself, and so I said, "Well, for me, it comes down to this: You're either pro-babies in cages or you're anti-babies in cages. I happen to be anti. That shouldn't be a controversial position."

"Where are babies in cages?" another woman asked.

"We're keeping kids and babies in camps," I said, surprised that she didn't know this. "The United States. We've put kids in large cages. We just have."

A man said, "What should we do with them?"

For me, the answer was obvious. "Not put them in cages," I responded.

A second man said, "You know how many women get raped by the coyotes who are taking them across the deserts to here? Women and young girls take contraception because they know they're going to be raped." And then he started talking about rape trees, which you can look up if you want.

I said, "What's your point? That migrants are treated shitty when they're trying to get to the United States? That at least we're not raping them? Just because someone else hurts people worse doesn't mean we get a pass on hurting them less. We should be better. Way better." And I went off on how, after the torture of Iraqi prisoners and detainees by American soldiers was revealed, some people would say shit like "You should see how they treat them in Syria or Saudi Arabia," as if the fact that we're not ripping off fingernails excuses our waterboarding.

Basically, though, my point was to stop putting babies or, hell, anybody who hasn't committed a crime in a cage. And let's be as absolutely fucking clear as can be: if you travel to the United States and present yourself at a port of entry to ask for asylum, you are not committing a crime. And if you cross into the US elsewhere and ask for asylum when border agents pick you and your family up, you've committed at most a misdemeanor, illegal entry.

The nihilistic policies of the Trump administration, which basically come down to "Give us money or fuck you," whether it has to do with climate change or with aid to Central American countries, are helping to drive the rise in migrants. In other words, we are fucking up the lives of people whose lives are so fucked up that they would rather face a journey filled with potential violence and being put in a cage or concentration camp than face the starvation, violence, and misery of their homes. They're so desperate that they're crossing the flood-swollen Rio Grande River and canals near El Paso, Texas, and some are likely dying right there at the border.

So maybe we could stop that last part. Maybe we could stop being assholes, at least to the children. Because right now, we're the fucking assholes. That's a choice we're making as a country, to be assholes. We could also choose not to be assholes.

How much are we being assholes? At the Paso del Norte International Bridge in El Paso, over 100 men are being held in what one observer described as a "human dog pound." They're in an open pen in the 100 plus degree heat, and some have been there over a month without a change of clothes or shower. All for not breaking the law.

Kids are supposed to be held for no more than 20 days before being released to family or foster care, but, you know, that's not happening. And professional coprophage Lindsey Graham has proposed extending that to a punitive 100 days on the notion that "the incentives created by our laws will cease to exist;" thus, "This humanitarian disaster will begin to repair itself." Someone tell this milksop motherfucker that people who just walked thousands of miles don't give a fuck about your 100 days.

Again, this is about us. This is about who we are. We are in a situation where the number of migrants has gone up sharply, despite Donald Trump's worthless threats and mad gesticulations and spittle-spraying speeches. We can continue to respond like the assholes we're being by trying to punish our way out of it, opening more and more concentration camps, including a site where Japanese Americans were interred during World War II. We can continue hurtful policies like making migrants wait in Mexico, where they have to stay in crime-ridden border towns and face homelessness and possible deportation if they're forced to stay too long by the backlog of asylum cases in the US.

Or maybe, just maybe we could respond with humanity, with treating them like human beings seeking help and comfort. We could fund the efforts at the border fully in a way that helps migrants. We could act like we're part of a goddamn society and not a bunch of fuckin' savages trying to out-brutal the other savages.