The Trump administration's brazen propaganda game has always been strong, and always finds impressive new ways to out-horrible itself.
So this is really just the latest example of dehumanizing language presented in an official context.
Of course Border Patrol isn't going to let a random group of radical political activists show up and start injecting people with drugs. https://t.co/k8e9hYSOSy
— DHS Press Secretary (@SpoxDHS) December 10, 2019
The Washington Examiner article linked to in the tweet is hardly objective, but even it still holds back from this kind of labelling.
Left-wing organizations that have called for the closing of immigrant detention facilities said they were turned away from a Border Patrol facility in Southern California after showing up to provide what they said were flu vaccines for detainees.
Members from Doctors for Camp Closures, Families Belong Together, and Never Again Action arrived at the Chula Vista Border Patrol Station in San Ysidro, California, Monday saying they wanted to vaccinate adults and children in temporary custody. The organizations said employees from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, who oversee station operations, turned them away.
Which part of this is "radical," exactly? Is it the belief in vaccines? Treating immigrants like human beings? Trying to prevent disease from spreading? Or handing out free healthcare?
I'm even willing (begrudgingly so) to overlook the CBP policy that allegedly required these Border Patrol agents to turn the doctors away. Maybe there's a reason for that policy that's not inherently xenophobic and authoritarian (maybe); the Examiner article does note that, "Detainees at Border Patrol facilities are not supposed to be kept for more than 72 hours, and people can get flu vaccines after they are transferred out of CBP custody to other agencies."
But Trump still built his campaign on accusations that Mexicans and other migrants from South and Central America were bringing "tremendous diseases" with them into the US. That's a classic xenophobic trope dating back centuries. And if it's true—which it's not, but if—then why wouldn't you want to prevent those diseases? Why would you let them fester and grow in the petri dish of detention centers, where you've already let so many people die? Sure, you can use their sickness as an excuse for deportation. But you're still spreading disease across American borders.
The only explanation I can fathom for that DHS language is that a "basic regard for human life" is now considered radical. And sadly, that makes sense from their perspective.
Activists turned away after showing up to Border Patrol detention facility with flu vaccines [Anna Giaritelli / The Washington Examiner]
Image via US Customs & Border Patrol / Flickr