Sunday July 1, 2018
Mistreatment of immigrants, minorities has long history in U.S.
We are right to be shocked by brutality toward immigrants, but we shouldn't be surprised. It was U.S. policy to enslave an estimated 12 million Africans, force native children into Indian boarding schools and put 127,000 Japanese-Americans into internment camps.
The policy of ripping children from their parents having backfired, President Donald Trump said he'll replace family separation with indefinite family detention. We know what that looks like at the Berks County Detention Center, the morally bankrupt icon of injustice in our own backyard. The families there are no different from those in the news: mothers, fathers and children who have fled life-threatening violence and come here seeking asylum. They have been held, in some cases for years, at the Berks facility, where they have been reports of medical neglect, harassment, sexual assault and profound psychological trauma. This is in direct contravention of the Flores settlement that limits detention of child migrants, and it's a preview of what could happen to tens of thousands more.
Gov. Tom Wolf should immediately close the center with an emergency removal order, release families to their relatives or sponsors and ensure that no additional families are incarcerated there. Rather than being the model for family detention, Pennsylvania can be an example of moral and political courage by standing against all inhumane, racist immigration policies.
Government brutality shouldn't be surprise