Last night, Donald Trump, in a move not associated with traditional federal law enforcement practices, publicly announced that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was going to “begin the process of removing” millions of undocumented immigrants from the United States:
This was strongly criticized by multiple candidates seeking the Democratic presidential nomination in next year’s presidential election (this is not an endorsement of any of the candidates whose tweets are posted below):
Let me begin by stating that it is not normal practice in the United States for a planned, large-scale law enforcement raid of any kind to be publicly announced by the President before it happens. Although I am not a law enforcement official of any kind, and I do not claim to be a law enforcement official of any kind, in a typical law enforcement raid planned well in advance, it’s not typical to publicly announce the planned raid to the public, since that would give the suspects more than enough time to flee law enforcement and any threat of arrest. However, Trump’s planned undocumented immigrant roundup is not a typical law enforcement raid and is a lot more political in nature.
As I type this blog post, the hashtag #Kristallnacht is trending on Twitter. That’s a reference to Kristallnacht, the 1938 pogrom against Jews in Nazi Germany in which the Nazis destroyed synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses and buildings. Kristallnacht foreshadowed the horrific genocide known as the Holocaust, in which approximately six million Jews were killed en masse by the Nazi regime.
What Trump has announced is, for all intents and purposes, his Kristallnacht moment. While Trump claims that he’s going to remove undocumented immigrants from this country, if no country takes the people that he’s removing, who will? I fear that this policy will inevitably lead to a very large number of people placed into concentration camps. I know that the corporate media, which has enabled Trump’s entire political career, is going to avoid using the term “concentration camp” to describe the facilities that the undocumented immigrants will likely be placed (they’ll use terms like “detention center”), but they’re concentration camps. Also, I don’t compare the behavior of politicians in my own country to the acts of the German Third Reich unless there is a proper historical comparison, so for me to compare Trump’s planned undocumented immigrant raid to Kristallnacht is not a comparison I take lightly.
Furthermore, Trump’s planned undocumented immigrant raid is fundamentally against American values. NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who was repeatedly voted the most popular driver of NASCAR’s top division and won its single most prestigious race, the Daytona 500, twice, once said that “America is created by immigrants.”. To a significant extent, he’s right. In fact, the earliest colonizers of what is now the United States of America were undocumented immigrants. After all, they didn’t provide immigration papers to the Native Americans who lived in what is now the United States of America long before any non-indigenous people did. America has a long history of its government committing horrific human rights abuses, including, but not limited to, the Trail of Tears and World War II-era internment of Japanese-Americans. However, human rights abuse should never be a core American value and is not something that the American people should celebrate. We, the American people, must speak up against Trump’s proposed raid against undocumented immigrants before it’s too late.