I see all over the news media cycles the horrendous conditions of the detention centers under the Trump administration. The truth is that our government has held immigrants and asylum seekers in horrendous conditions for decades, long before Trump was ever president. It’s about time that this issue has finally been brought to the forefront for discussion by the media. In fact, in the 70s and 80s, our government held migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where these people didn’t have rights of those on American soil. These asylum seekers were held there for long periods of time, to the point where in some cases the people rioted. Conditions were so bad at Guantanamo that this is what gave Donald Rumsfeld the idea that Guantanamo Bay is where the government should keep terrorists.
With a little research, one can find news stories written under the Obama administration that sound very similar to what is currently happening under the Trump administration’s treatment of asylum seekers. For example, anyone can search the following articles on the internet:
• “Inside the Immigration Icebox” describes an unaccompanied Honduran child immigrant describing the freezing conditions in a “holding cell” (2014).
• “Read These Kids’ Horrifying Tales of Abuse in US Detention Facilities” describes insults, sexual abuse by adult inmates and having to drink toilet water (2014).
• “US: Deaths in Immigration Detention” summarizes the deaths of 18 migrants in the custody of U.S. immigration authorities (2016).
• “Obama’s Immigration Raids Are Turning Latino Communities into Ghost Towns” (2016).
• “US Placed Immigrant Children with Traffickers, Report Says,” which is about how the Department of Health and Human Services placed more than a dozen immigrant children in the custody of human traffickers (2016).
One can find a plethora of other stories with similar headlines pertaining to U.S. government treatment of immigrants. I’m not a Trump fan nor supporter, and I definitely do not condone the way this administration has been treating immigrants and asylum seekers; but this is not a Trump problem. This is an American problem and has been for decades. I think it sad that it has come to this to begin having a discussion, but I am glad that this issue has finally begun getting the attention it deserves.
We have not had solid immigration reform in the U.S. since 1986. It is about damn time that we finally do something about it. Although Trump believes that Congress may be willing to do something, I’m not very hopeful as the only time this Congress moves to do anything is to score political points or to pander to its Democratic or Republican base. Both sides of Congress just point the finger at whoever is president (Republicans at Obama and Democrats at Trump) and blames them as the reason for this issue.
It’s the elected leaders that are supposed to be working for we the people, not the other way around. I refuse to believe that Americans, regardless of political affiliation, believe that immigrants are being treated humanely. We need to let our leaders know where we stand on this issue and demand change by calling or writing your senator or representative. If they still decide to do nothing, then perhaps we need new representation at our next voting cycle.