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Vista de gases lacrimógenos que la policía fronteriza utiliza para evitar que grupos de personas crucen hoy, la garita El Chaparral, de la ciudad de Tijuana, en el estado de Baja California (México). EFE
A view of tear gas that the border police use to prevent groups of people from crossing today, the El Chaparral sentry box, in the city of Tijuana, in the state of Baja California (Mexico). EFE

No, We Are Not a Country of Laws

We have seen the ever more cruel face of the Trump administration and the Republican Party. 

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Anguished mothers desperately trying to protect their children, barefoot and in diapers, from the tear gas choking them; thousands of soldiers ready for battle deployed to repress poor people fleeing from their countries’ violence, death and hopelessness -- for which U.S. policies have been largely responsible.

Pictures of terrible abuse that are harrowing, offensive to human dignity, revealing of how deep racism, like a poisonous river, runs in this culture; pictures that now are the even more cruel face of the Trump administration and the Republican Party.

Which is why Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and everyone else who is either in denial or trying to cover up the shocking reality, need to heed this message: Stop, enough is enough, don’t make statements like this anymore: “Shooting tear gas at children is not who we are as Americans,” Perez tweeted. “Seeking asylum is not a crime. We must be better than this.”

Stop once and for all, because unfortunately, this ugly, racist, abusive, law-breaking entity is who we are. And the time has come to admit it, and to come to terms with the uncomfortable fact that this brutal, unjustifiable behavior is neither Republican or Democrat, but American.

It shouldn’t be forgotten that President Obama more than earned the dubious title of “deporter-in-chief” with his policy of unprecedented massive deportations, including separation of children and the militarization of the border. The former president actually created the deportation machine which has served Trump so well to put in practice his inhumane persecution of immigrants and satisfy the racist appetite of his followers.

“The Democrats will respond to Trump’s escalation of anti-migrant violence with the immigration equivalent of ‘thoughts & prayers,’ saying: ‘Trump is cruel’ for continuing & expanding the policies of Obama, who continued & expanded those of Bush,” said immigration activist and author Roberto Lovato.

Let’s stop also once and for all the “this-is-a-country-of-laws” litany offered as an excuse for the despicable abuse of defenseless, harmless people who believed in the American myth of freedom and respect for human rights. Let’s stop it because it is a lie to be hypocritically invoked by those who try to hide their own prejudices and racist bias.

“Let’s be clear. This military action against unarmed refugees is a crime against humanity. Additionally, our government is violating the law by blocking these families from seeking what is lawfully available to them – asylum,” said Angela Fernández, executive director of Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights.

“By ordering the closure of border entry points, mothers, fathers and children are being trapped in an untenable situation at the border. This situation is of our government’s own making - both presently at the border, and historically with our active participation in destabilizing democratically elected governments and gutting civic society in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador - which have made these countries unlivable,” Fernández added. “We must take responsibility for this refugee crisis and allow these families into the US and allow them to seek asylum. This blood is not just on the hands of this administration, but on the hands of past presidents, secretaries of state, and congress for our flawed foreign policies in Central America and the incessant growth of our detention and deportation apparatus.”

No more excuses, no more lies, no more denial. The migrants arriving at the border are not “illegal aliens,” they are not breaking the law, applying for asylum is their right. The president of the country and his minions are the ones violating the laws and tearing to shreds the moral fabric of U.S. society.

How much more will decent Americans –Republicans, Democrats, independents, it doesn’t matter – put up with the horror?

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