Immigration Reform: Immigration Prisons

XicanoPwr over at My Left Wing has a detailed post up discussing one solution to the illegal immigrant problem. Lock them up:

“immigration prisons” in the US to house the undocumented immigrants once they have been rounded up (here, here, and here);

Dave at Orcinus goes into more detail about these camps, and the rhetoric describing them:

“You shouldn’t call them concentration camps,” he said. “We weren’t starving people to death or murdering them in gas chambers. Calling them that makes people think that’s what went on there.”

Well, I responded, what you’re describing is properly called a death camp. “Concentration camp” was a term created, during the Boer War, to describe the mass prison camps the British erected to incarcerate Boer families. It has been used consistently afterward to describe these kinds of arrangements, including by both Franklin Roosevelt and Attorney General Biddle, in official documents, to describe the Japanese American camps.

His accuracy is in sharp contrast to the language used to obscure the nature of these prisons. “Internment Camps”. “Relocation Centers”.(Orcinus) “Immigration Prisons”.(My Left Wing).

As a nation we apologized, late, to the Japanese we held in concentration camps during World War II.

When are we going to apologize to the people and nations represented in camps now?

At the very least we can speak about them honestly and openly. America currently runs concentration camps.

How do you feel about that?

UPDATE:  XicanoPwr makes an excellent point in the comments:  Immigration Prisons does not obscure the nature of the prisons, but calls it out in sharp contrast to the oft-used phrase “Detention Centers”.

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2 Responses

  1. His accuracy is in sharp contrast to the language used to obscure the nature of these prisons. “Internment Camps”. “Relocation Centers”.(Orcinus) “Immigration Prisons”.(My Left Wing).

    I see what you are trying to say, however, speaking for myself, I use “concentration camps” and “immigration prisons” interchangeably because in my mind they are one in the same thing, hence, the title of the other three links to my blog all have concentration camps in the title. My intention is not to use rhetoric to obscure the nature of these prisons because the reality is, there are a lot of people who do see our current prison system like a concentration camp. What is going on in these facilities are also occurring now in the facilities that house the incarcerated. The only we don’t call our prison system a concentration camp is because they house those we like to see locked up, such violent offenders, child molesters, etc, the truth is, we turn a blind eye to them.

    In fact, Mark Dow, author of, “American Gulag: Inside U.S Immigration Prisons” said the same thing in Democracy now.

    The reason I use the phrase “immigration prisons” is because we talk a lot about detention. We’re hearing a lot about detention. But when people are detained, they are incarcerated. They are prisoners. They’re stripped of their clothing. They’re given inmate uniforms. It’s not that they’re treated like prisoners, they are prisoners. So even though this is administrative, quote-unquote, “detention,” it has nothing to do with serving time for a sentence. These people are jailed as prisoners, and they are in jails, they are in prisons, and sometimes in what are called detention centers or processing centers, but as a warden once told me, these are all the same thing.

  2. An incredibly good point.

    There is still a remaining downside to referring to the camps as prisons. The people held there are viewed as criminals. For many, prison is an appropriate place for criminals. Thus holding suspected illegal immigrants in prisons seems natural.

    Holding suspected criminals of any stripe in a concentration camp is monstrous.

    Perhaps much of the perspective problem comes from how we view prison in this country.

    In any case, a sharp point!

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