Here in the United States, we have what seem like regularly unfolding stories — one more disturbing than the last–of “illegal” immigrants being rounded up and deported. This has happened when individuals have gone to mandatory check-in appointments, when they have been at work, at courthouses, out in their communities, etc. Seven-Eleven convenience stores are now being targeted by officers of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The latest story, of a Mexican family man and landscaper, was just another in a long line of cruel — and frankly idiotic — deportations by ICE officers. Mr. Garcia, brought to this country as a 10 year old boy by a relative, has been living a law-abiding and productive life in the United States for nearly twenty years. He has a wife and two teenage daughters, works, and pays taxes.
But in the America of Donald Trump, in which our core values seem to be stupid and cruel, this man is somehow a “bad hombre,” as our insulter-in-chief likes to characterize all those who came here without paperwork. Even a child. So a man without so much as a traffic ticket–according to news reports–who contributes to society, is just so much trash, to be tossed over the fence to Mexico. Sexual predators like Roy Moore and torch-bearing American Nazis are “fine people” however. This is Trump’s America.
All of this has more than a passing resemblance to Europe under Nazism. Reading of this latest ICE “catch” and seeing photos of Mr. Garcia surrounded by his distraught wife and children at Detroit’s airport, I immediately flashed to other deportations, other cruel separations of family members from one another, and of whole families from their communities. Just like ICE officers, Adolph Eichmann, as he calmly noted at his trial in Jerusalem, was just following orders.
While Eichmann’s crimes were far greater, since he was part of an assembly line of death that had Nazis and their collaborators rounding up millions of Jews and sending them to their death, these ICE officers are the same kind of blandly cruel functionaries, giving no thought to the ethical implications and inhumanity of tearing families apart. All for the sake of lies about the supposed threat that Mr. Garcia and others like him pose to the rest of us.
Eichmann was hanged for his crimes. Here’s hoping that the architects of, and functionaries who implement, the dishonest and unjust policies that have come to define America under Donald Trump, are held accountable as well. And soon.