PERRY: Apathy and support for treating immigrants like animals moves the nation closer to disaster

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FILE – Migrants, who arrived on a flight sent by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, gather with their belongings outside St. Andrews Episcopal Church, Wednesday Sept. 14, 2022, in Edgartown, Mass., on Martha’s Vineyard. A Texas sheriff on Monday, Sept. 19 opened an investigation into two flights of migrants sent to Martha’s Vineyard by DeSantis, but did not say what laws may have been broken in putting 48 Venezuelans on private planes last week from San Antonio. (Ray Ewing/Vineyard Gazette via AP, File)

During the decades I’ve interviewed people who’ve survived what most everyone agrees are the worst things humans have done to each other in recent history, there’s always a consistent question: How could that happen?

How could anyone kidnap people from Africa and sell them like cattle? And who in the United States could not only participate in enslaving as many as 10 million children, women and men before 1865, but then go to war to fight for the right to continue?

How could so many Americans turn a blind eye to attempts to exterminate the indigenous people of the Americas after they were driven from their homes?

How could someone as repugnant as Adolph Hitler gain a single follower, let alone millions and be allowed to carry out the greatest horror ever, the Holocaust?

The answer from dozens of people who’ve survived or researched the worst that humans have inflicted on each other is almost always the same.

It didn’t happen fast.

It took months and sometimes years to systematically dehumanize Jews, Blacks and Native Americans.

But that’s just part of the “how.”

Political leaders push to designate people as “them” and “others.” They use terms like “infestation,” “illegals,” “criminals,” “invaders,” “groomers,” “animals” and ton of pejoratives over and over to distance people from being people.

In talking with numerous Holocaust survivors, they all agreed that Germany was able to move so steadily toward catastrophe because leaders there persuaded people they were victims of all kinds of things that have plagued civilizations for as long as there have been some. Economic woes. Health woes. Family woes. Weather woes. You name it. The trick, which hasn’t been that hard in the past, is then to connect the “victim” to the alleged perpetrator.

In Germany, it was Jews, gays and non-Christians. In the United States? It was, and is again, “angry” Black civil rights protesters. It’s immigrants.

Last week, it was an airplane full of Spanish-speaking refugee immigrants from Latin American nations, credentialed to stay in the United States as they await residency decisions by the Federal Government.

In an astonishing act of cruel dehumanization, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis paid a poser to lie to about 50 of these refugees and con them into getting on a plane they were told was bound for Boston, where homes and jobs awaited them.

They were dumped on the tiny island of Martha’s Vineyard in a vicious political ploy.

There’s no doubt that the stunt met the legal and moral definition of human trafficking.

A Texas sheriff official from where the refugees were essentially kidnapped by the gubernatorial equivalent of a creeper in a van, luring kids with candy, says they’re investigating criminal charges in the incident. Those charges may, and should, target DeSantis.

While DeSantis is guilty of spectacularly kidnapping these refugees, he joins Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey in this sick ploy to reduce refugees and immigrants to animal status, load them on buses like cattle and send them off to liberal communities in sordid acts of vengeful political theater.

But just as loathsome as this systematic denigration of human beings, is the casual American apathy about these horrors, and even more alarming, the stunning support.

“Hey media,” GOP Congressperson Lauren Boebert from Colorado said in a tweet over the weekend. “It’s not “migrant”. It’s not “asylum seeker”. It is ILLEGAL or ILLEGAL ALIEN! Stop sanitizing it.”

For anyone who’s been the victim of this dehumanization or been close to it, Boebert’s constant drumming is chilling. 

Colorado Springs GOP Congressperson Doug Lamborn offered more: “50 illegal immigrants in Martha’s Vineyard is not a “humanitarian crisis.” 4.3 million illegal immigrants at our southern border is not only a humanitarian, but a national security crisis.”

First off, that’s just a lie. While some government agencies reported about 1.2 million “encounters” at the border with potential immigrants, multiple credible sources point out many of those encounters are the same people, turned back and attempting again.

There’s no argument from anyone on either side of the aisle that the lack of immigration law reform in the United States is disastrous. But the undocumented immigration problem persists because Congress has been unwilling — for decades — to enact workable immigration reform. 

It’s not hard. Create worker permits, a path to citizenship and penalize the holy hell out of businesses caught hiring non-permitted workers. Try that to start, and almost all of the immigration problems here are solved.

U.S. businesses are desperate for employees and would marvel at the chance to hire willing immigrants right now.

But this isn’t just about immigrants. It’s mostly about non-white immigrants.

Despite there being about a half-million undocumented white immigrants in the country, there are no protests at the state Capitol to evict Australian, Canadian or French people who’ve overstayed their visas back to where they came.

While more Americans were glued the past several days to TV and mobile phone updates about the funeral dramatics for Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, than the alarming news that a U.S. governor had kidnapped 50 Latin Americans in a heartless and dehumanizing trafficking crime, one thing was obvious. If that plane-full of kidnapped refugees had been white English families rather than Venezuelans and El Salvadorans, Fox News and every other network would have interrupted its non-stop coverage of United Kingdom subjects standing in line for days for a fleeting glimpse of the Queen’s casket.

DeSantis, Sen. Ted Cruz, Lamborn, Abbott, Donald Trump, Boebert and too many other political leaders want to use tried and true dehumanization scams to camouflage the fact that 50 people were kidnapped as human props to be abused for the sake of this ruse.

DeSantis, speaking on FoxNews Sean Hannity’s program, called objections to his outed trafficking scheme, virtue signaling.

Who could do something like that?

There are compelling arguments in limiting and tightly controlling U.S. immigration, and both sides of the issue make those arguments regularly, but justifying the kidnapping and abuse of anyone, because they’re “immigrants” or undocumented or anything, is nothing more than a giant step further down the road to future generations of journalists asking witnesses, victims and experts, “how could that have happened?”

Follow @EditorDavePerry on Twitter and Facebook or reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected]

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Pam
Pam
5 days ago

Well-written, Dave; however, there are too many words – and full sentences – in this piece for the people who need to read it – to READ IT. They are also missing the empathy gene.

Don
Don
5 days ago

They all signed consent forms showing they were going to Massachusetts. They weren’t misled. Maybe after ignoring the border for YEARS something will be done. Border towns and absolutely flooded with this and 50 show up liberal paradise and it’s disaster. Get a life.

Jeff Ryan
Jeff Ryan
5 days ago
Reply to  Don

They were absolutely misled. Read the brochure they were given, promising jobs, money and help with housing. These people weren’t eligible for any of those benefits because they had not been declared refugees.

You should really get your facts straight. This has been documented, extensively, for days.

Bones
Bones
4 days ago
Reply to  Don

It’s not the liberals who have shot down nationwide e-verify. Do you know how much that would cut down on illegal immigration? Do you know that the governors of FL and TX refuse to implement as a requirement for all employers?
and, it was one of trump’s promises on the campaign trail, but then he dropped it it!

Debra MacKillop
Debra MacKillop
2 days ago
Reply to  Don

I hope you can learn not to spread disinformation as you have here, and be able to understand what is credible information. I wish you good luck in that, as our democracy depends upon it today, as well as all efforts to get Congress to pass comprehensive, effective and compassionate immigration legislation consistent with the ideals of the US. Thank you for this well-researched and truthful article.

Rick
5 days ago

It is about protecting our border, enforcing our laws and keeping our county sovereign. Every developed county in the world controls their borders, why not America? America is the frog in the pot of water and the liberals and progressives are slowly turning up the heat until we are cooked. WAKE UP.

GeneD
5 days ago
Reply to  Rick

Blaming liberals and progressives is easy, until you consider that this problem has been going on since last century, because of Congress’ inaction. Both parties have been in charge at various times over that period. Stop the blamecasting.

Jeff Ryan
Jeff Ryan
5 days ago
Reply to  Rick

These people were in the country legally. That’s what the law says. They did just what the law requires by entering the country and applying for asylum. They are all awaiting our government’s determination of refugee status.

Your entire premise is wrong.

Joe Felice
Joe Felice
5 days ago

Don’t forget, Dave, that we also follow these incredulous events with “we’ve sunk to a new low.” But then, before we can recover from that one, we sink to yet another.

It is my understanding that the folks who were kidnapped are in the country legally. Americans have become very good at dehumanizing anyone who is different.

Publius
Publius
5 days ago

You state: “There’s no doubt that the stunt met the legal and moral definition of human trafficking” Perhaps instead of asserting your conclusion you could share your analysis. Perhaps begin by setting out the definitions to which you are referring, and where those definitions were found so we, the reader, could determine whether the sources are authoritative. Then you could compare the actions to the definitions and we too could draw conclusions or at least examine the conclusion youhave drawn.

J Walter
J Walter
5 days ago

Let’s start with a BIG TRUTH, please. Boston and Martha’s Vineyard have no porous border. Before you think I’m a de Santis fan, hear me out. It’s easy for folks who have no consequences to give lip service to allowing mass migration. Sure, they need housecleaners, busboys and dishwashers, but want the southern states to sanitize them first, I guess.
This stunt was cruel and demoralizing, there can be no doubt. Those governors are not nice people, but…can something useful come out of a bad action? Can we help the folks “up there” understand that the border states are overwhelmed with the task of sorting out all of the people who, for sometimes horrific reasons, are wanting to come here? Our Democracy is in deep trouble, but where they come from is much worse.
Any ideas for a reunification of North and South?

Jeff Ryan
Jeff Ryan
5 days ago
Reply to  J Walter

Your argument would hold more weight were it not for the fact that DeSantis had to go to another state to find these people. Florida is not really a “border” state. Unless you count Georgia, Alabama and the Atlantic Ocean as “borders”.

These people were lawfully within the United States, having lawfully applied for asylum.

Avoiding Racist Harassment
Avoiding Racist Harassment
5 days ago

Either you are a decent human being or you are not. Supporting this political nonsense means you are not a decent person. Period. Those that call themselves Christians worship white Jesus, not the one in the Bible. Period.

The GQP and it’s trump acolytes are our nation’s current and future goose-steppers. They are just to focused on hate to see it in the mirror.

DICK MOORE
DICK MOORE
5 days ago

To call me out as being less of a human being as you are because I think everything you said in your comment is absolutely wrong is totally hateful on your part to me. Look that in the mirror, Madame Hateful.

Jeff Ryan
Jeff Ryan
5 days ago
Reply to  DICK MOORE

Funny, I don’t see your name anywhere in that post.

Factory Working Orphan
Factory Working Orphan
3 days ago

Doesn’t Jesus throw his enemies in a lake of fire at the end of the Bible?

Don Black
Don Black
5 days ago

Ask Europe how they feel about massive immigration and the results to their culture, safety, and quality of life. I had two Norwegian police officers in my class about fifteen years ago. They told us how bad it was win their country and that the politicians would admit none of it. In trips to Europe, I spoke with numerous people who were angry about the crime that immigration had brought and the loss of their culture. We need to push Congress to enact realistic and humane immigration legislation and to build a wall.

GeneD
4 days ago
Reply to  Don Black

Do we have the same situation, Don? Do you have any reliable data on increased crime in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, or (snark) Florida as a result of too many people crossing our southern border? Or are you still swept up with the hateful language of your leaders labeling people as rapists, thieves, drug dealers, and ‘bad people’ travelling in’ hordes’?

DICK MOORE
DICK MOORE
5 days ago

As much as I can’t wait for Dave Perry to lose his newspaper to stop him from spreading his opinion about living in America which is so distorted for bringing America back together, I can’t wait to hear about the next bus, train or plane load of immigrants to every Sanctuary City in America. Too bad our City is one of them.

Sandy
4 days ago
Reply to  DICK MOORE

Gosh Dick. Our City Council years ago distinctly voted to remind everyone that we were NOT a Sanctuary City. It was unnecessary and mean.

Nick Campbell
Nick Campbell
5 days ago

Dave, I think it comes down to why are there are so many Americans willing to exploit these people to make a buck? They will most likely work in low or unskilled labor intensive jobs with low wages so their employer can make more than they should. Immigration laws have been screwed up for decades and our legislators have been unable or unwilling to fix them, but the employers are also making donations to the politicians who allow it to stay the same. Why don’t you start writing about who exactly is employing them and who is exploiting them? I wonder how we would be treated if we simply walked into their country of origin without the intention of leaving or any country for that matter.

Debra MacKillop
Debra MacKillop
2 days ago
Reply to  Nick Campbell

we exploit plenty of other countries too

Hypocrisy Monitor
Hypocrisy Monitor
5 days ago

How rich. Dave Perry lists a litany of pejoratives with a straight face while CM Juan Marcano repeatedly calls Republicans “sadistic death cultists.”

Let’s talk about “othering.”

Bart Emanuel
Bart Emanuel
4 days ago

Seems like Perry outlined why people might be inclined to feel that way. If you don’t like being associated with these terms maybe you ought to look in the mirror?

Debra MacKillop
Debra MacKillop
2 days ago

stop projecting

Hypocrisy Monitor
Hypocrisy Monitor
5 days ago

And, Dave, your sycophants are not helping your case by labeling conservatives “GQP” and “goose-steppers.”

FactsOverFeelings
FactsOverFeelings
4 days ago

How about fascists? Hate-mongers?

BlueBird
4 days ago

Your sensible 3 step plan needed to be adapted decades ago: Create worker permits, a path to citizenship and penalize the holy hell out of businesses caught hiring non-permitted workers.

Michael L Moore
Michael L Moore
4 days ago

Despite moronic utterings from an obviously illiterate Bobert, keep beating the drum! These are people coming to our country to escape persecution and in some cases death! Where is our welcoming spirit? It is complicated! If Bobert could read, she might find that out. Willful ignorance is no excuse!