'Atrocious': Trump's tent cities for kids compared to internment camps


Trump's plan to take immigrant children from their families and put them in camps has journalists and human rights advocates alarmed at the historical parallels.

The Trump administration's policy of ripping children away from their parents at the border could soon include housing those kids in tent cities at military posts — which has disturbing historical echoes.

According to a new report from McClatchy, administration officials will visit a military base "in the coming weeks to look at a parcel of land where the administration is considering building a tent city to hold between 1,000 and 5,000 children."

The plan quickly drew fierce backlash from activists and journalists, some of whom compared the proposed tent city with prison camps.

"They're calling them 'tent cities' but yes, they are camps," said MSNBC's Chris Hayes. "They're going to construct camps for children."

Civil rights attorney Carl Takei compared the idea to World War II-era Japanese internment camps, and called the policy a "moral horror."

On Tuesday night's "Tonight with Don Lemon," CNN political commentator Angela Rye was particularly powerful in her denunciation of the proposed detention camp.

"I think it's atrocious. It's inhumane," Rye said, adding that the situation will "get progressively worse if we won't raise our voices, and call out inhumane treatment when we see it."

Rye added that to her, reading about the tent cities reminds her of when children were separated from their families during slavery.

"How dare we go back to that time," she said.

Lemon asked Rye what she would say to Trump supporters who blame the parents for bringing children with them in the first place.

"Shame on them, because some of them are evangelical Christians who have overwhelmingly continued to support Donald Trump, and I want to know what Bible they're reading," Rye said. "Shame on you. You're heartless human beings. I'm praying for you."

The disturbing comparisons needn't go all that far back in history, either. Racist former Sheriff Joe Arpaio famously kept the prisoners whose rights he violated in a tent city in Arizona. Arpaio was, in turn, pardoned by Trump in a move that was surely designed to delight Trump's racist fan base.

Tent city or not, the Trump administration has already shown shocking indifference toward the children it rips away from parents. A few weeks ago, Trump chief of staff John Kelly praised the deterrent value of the policy, and noted that the children are "put into foster care or whatever."

And last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions responded to concerns about the policy's cruelty by claiming that "most are not infants." But even he admitted that "we do have a number of younger ones now, more than we’ve seen recently."

Trump's policy is racist and inhumane no matter where the children are kept, but this plan to house them in tents should spark outrage in every American.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.