The situation on our southern border is a crisis, not because of the migrants but because of the way they are being brutalized by the Trump administration. While the Trump brands these asylum seekers (who have a legal right to seek asylum) as criminals or terrorists, most are fleeing Central American countries to avoid persecution or to find a better life, much as most of our ancestors did. In fact, unless you are 100 percent Native American, you really do not have much of a right to complain about foreigners coming here and “destroying our way of life.”

It is has gotten rather tiring to hear those who don’t like these migrants whine: “but my people came here legally.” Perhaps they did, but it is very hard to talk about “legal” and “illegal” until the opening of Ellis Island in the late 19th century. In fact, some of this writer’s ancestors, who came before that, would probably not meet the background checks performed today! But we all became Americans and that is all these Central American refugees want, too.

It is Trump, not these refugees, who has created the real “border crisis.” Yes, it is an “emergency,” but it is a humanitarian emergency of Trump’s own making. Young children are being torn from their parents and held in for-profit detention centers. These centers make their profits by denying services to detainees. How immoral. There are those who run these centers who are close to the Trump administration. So, we must add official corruption to this indecency.

They are threatened, abused, and deprived of sleep by the staff and seem to have no recourse. They are denied proper medical care. Several have died in custody. Some have even been adopted out to other families and it is uncertain whether their real parents will ever be able to reclaim them. Some of the children have been abused and molested. There is also evidence that at least some of these kids have been given to human traffickers. According to the Trump administration, these children are not even entitled to soap and toothbrushes.

Of course, there is nothing the parents or children can do about it. They are poor. They cannot afford lawyers to help them. And so, the brutality continues. Human rights organizations and the media have restricted or even no access to these detention centers. The last surviving prosecutor from the Nuremberg war crimes trials said shortly before his death that what is happening to these children “is a crime against humanity.” He knew what he was talking about. Like the Nuremberg defendants, those responsible need to answer for this crime.

Both the parents and their kids have basic human and civil rights. While illegal immigration is a crime, it is legal to come to the border and ask for asylum. Unfortunately, the system has been broken and the Trump administration is damaging it even more. We have criminals who have done a lot worse who are treated better in our prisons than these immigrants. In fact, we treat our animals a lot better than these children.

Those who do what they can to help these immigrants, such as by leaving food and water in the desert for them face prosecution. Meanwhile, the Trump has no problem with right-wing, racist self-style militias going to the border to “help.”

Sorry, but a “well-regulated militia” as defined by the Constitution are not a bunch of middle-aged, bitter, angry white men who never got over playing army when they were kids. Meanwhile, Trump supporters believe Trump’s lies and deny these outrages are going on. Or, some know what is happening but think it is great. That is not the America we want.

If you are one of the Trump supporters who deny this is going on, then you are guilty of willful ignorance. If you know damn well what is going on and deny it or support it, then you have a much worse problem. You are complicit in what is a crime under international and American law. You are also heartless, lacking in compassion and inhuman.

You may also be a racist. After all we do not see calls for a wall across our northern border. Our border with Canada is much more porous than the one with Mexico but no one is sending racist thugs to defend it. Perhaps you just hate Latinos.

If you agree with these outrages against what are our true “American values,” you cannot defend yourself by saying “well, it’s the parents’ fault. They should have known better than to bring their kids.” Even if the parents are the worst criminals in the world (which they are not), does that justify this treatment of their children? Would you want your own kids treated this way?

Furthermore, if you are a pro-Trump “Christian” who thinks you can find a Biblical justification for these policies, read your Bible again. Both the Jewish and Christian Bibles have harsh words for those who have no compassion for the defenseless, including “the stranger in thy land.” And, if you read the Gospels, you will find that Jesus warned people what would happen if they hurt a child.

Then, there is the category of people who know this is happening but either don’t care or don’t want to get involved. If you know these atrocities are real and you do not at least stand up and speak out against them, then you are “guilty bystander.” You are a lot like the “nice” kids in school who feel sorry for the victim but do not confront the bully. It may be a cliché, but it makes you “part of the problem.” This especially applies to our politicians who do nothing.

This is not the America we want. In the immortal words of Private Gomer Pyle, “Fer shame, fer shame.”

(Scott Crafcraft is a citizen, a taxpayer, a veteran and a resident of Gilford.)

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