President Trump’s latest assault on undocumented aliens reached a new low last week when he said, “These aren’t people, these are animals.”
Essentially, the president believes undocumented aliens are subhuman, or “Untermensch,” which was part of the justification used by leaders of Nazi-Germany to herd “undesirable” groups into death camps. These undesirables included Jews, Roma (Gypsies), Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, political opponents of the Nazi hierarchy, and anyone else Adolf Hitler and his cronies didn’t like.
Whatever most normal people’s opinion of undocumented aliens is - positive or negative - it’s unlikely that the majority of Americans view them as “animals.” The exception to that statement, of course, is if they concur with the opinion of the president. Or Adolf Hitler.
But why resort to sticks, stones, and names that never hurt you? That would merely put those of us who disagree with the president’s perception of humanity - or inhumanity - on his level. Which is a place on earth most Americans have indicated they would rather not be.
Note to the president: you lost the popular vote and, according to numerous polls, less than half of all Americans approve of you or your regime.
It’s mind-boggling that this president has called many of the supporters of the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville last year “very fine people.” Clearly, in his worldview, undocumented aliens are not. Because they “aren’t people,” they’re “animals.” And while the president subsequently back-peddled a bit, saying he was referring to the violent, pre-dominantly Latinx gang MS-13, he fails to recognize that gang members are people as well.
In the president’s mind and in the minds of many around him, including John Kelly, his Chief-of-Staff, it’s perfectly acceptable to separate children from their undocumented parents should they all be rounded up at the border and routed to immigrant detention facilities; or, as Kelly said, “foster care or whatever.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions summed up the administration’s policy on undocumented migrants succinctly, “If you’re smuggling a child, then we’re going to prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you. If you don’t want your child separated, then don’t bring them across the border illegally.”
The terminus - literally and figuratively - for many of those arriving at Nazi concentration camps was frequently the scene of children being separated from parents. Infants didn’t fare as well. On more occasions than not, they were immediately eliminated. That’s a tame euphemism for what actually happened.
What the attorney general fails to recognize is that he is referring to human beings. They are not smuggled contraband; not animals. Then again, Sessions isn’t exactly known for his sensitivity regarding race, culture, or sexual preference.
The president’s attempts to muster compassion and emotion at a so-called “immigration round-table” last week devolved, yet again, into an opportunity to play politics. As usual, his failings as a leader, policymaker, and as a human being were - according to him - the fault of the Democrats, a majority of whom do not agree with most of the president’s immigration decrees.
Our beneficent leader had this to say to those attempting to cross the border without proper documentation, “I know what you’re going through right now with families is very tough, but those are the bad laws the Democrats gave us. We have to break up families. The Democrats gave us that law.”
No. They did not. The president and his administration did.
The president doesn’t have a clue about the plight of undocumented aliens. He should. According to published accounts in The Guardian and on CNN, historian Roland Paul notes that President Trump’s grandfather, Friedrich, left Germany, the president’s ancestral homeland, illegally; failing to notify authorities of his intention to emigrate. And escape the draft. Apparently, Friedrich Trump - unlike his grandson - didn’t have bone spurs on the heels of his feet.
A document Paul found in local archives in Bavaria notes that Friedrich Trump, having already become an American citizen, should leave the area by “1 May... or else expect to be deported.”
Imagine that, the Trump family was punished for leaving a country illegally rather than arriving in one.
Perhaps if this nation hadn’t welcomed the Trump family to America, we wouldn’t have the leader we have in office today. Well, as the president told the knights of his round-table, the U.S. has “the dumbest laws on immigration in the world.”
Blair Bess is a Los Angeles-based television writer, producer, and columnist. He edits the online blog Soaggragated.com, and can be reached at BBess.firstname.lastname@example.org.