My great aunt, Manci Abramowitz survived Auschwitz. She was poor and a victim of the Nazi war economy, and had to pay a Christian family to shelter her under Nazi-occupied Austria. When the money ran out, they turned her into the Gestapo. She was targeted because of her religion, because she was a foreigner, and because she was poor.
Under the Trump administration’s war economy, ICE and CBP have implemented a policy of child separation and systemic racism, ripping 5,460 children away from their Latinx parents. This was done to pressure refugees into withdrawing their immigration claims, and return to their war torn countries.
The Poor People’s Campaign, A National Call for Moral Revival, and 65% of Americans dislike the policy (University of Maryland Poll) and want to do more to stop it, but many don’t realize it’s actually against the law. Under 18 U.S. Code § 2441 (the War Crimes Act of 1996), cruel actions such as this are punishable by life in prison.
The law applies to any national of the United States, and does not distinguish if the victim is a US citizen, or if the nation is at war.
Any of the following qualifies as a violation of the statutes.
Pain And Suffering At The Border
Subsection A) An act specifically intended to inflict severe, mental pain or suffering upon another person within his [or her] custody or physical control for the purpose of punishment, intimidation, coercion, or any reason based on discrimination of any kind.
According to Newsweek and NBC News, Border Patrol agents have abused, kicked, and punched immigrant children. ICE and CBP agents have control over immigrants, and were ordered (and executed) a policy of separating children from their Latinx parents, with no plan of reuniting them. Multiple doctors have said this is a traumatizing experience for children, and will harm them for the rest of their lives. Benjamin Ferencz, an American who prosecuted the Nuremberg trials, has called this a crime against humanity. He asked, “What could cause more grave suffering than what they did in the name of immigration law?… We should be furious!”
Killing At The Border
Subsection D) An act of killing whether intentionally or unintentionally, in the course of committing any other offense, against a person taking no active part in the hostilities.
According to Buzzfeed and NBC News, at least 7 children have died because of the Trump family separation policy, one of whom was only 18 months old. An additional 30 adults have also died. These were innocent people who did no harm to any American. Did 2 year old Wilmer Josué Ramírez Vásquez take someone’s job? Did 7 year old Jakelin Caal Maquín rape someone? Did 8 year old Felipe Alonzo Gómez sell drugs to someone? Did 10 year old Darlyn Valle commit a crime? Did 16 year olds Juan de León Gutiérrez and Carlos Hernández Vásquez cause a crisis? These children deserve equal protection under the law, and is non-negotiable.
Sexual Assault At The Border
Subsection H) An act of forcibly or with coercion or threat of force, engages in sexual contact with one or more persons, or causes, one or more persons to engage in sexual contact.
According to NBC news, migrant children in Yuma, Arizona were subjected to sexual assault and rape. One particular 15-year-old girl from Honduras described a large, bearded officer putting his hands inside her bra, pulling down her underwear and groping her as part of what was meant to be a routine pat-down in front of other immigrants and officers. According to the New York Times, thousands of immigrant children said they were sexually assaulted. ICE and CBP officers who have committed these acts of sexual violence must be held accountable.
Kidnapping At The Border
Subsection I) An act of knowingly seizing or detaining someone, and threatening to continue detaining someone with the intent of compelling any person other than the hostage, to refrain from acting as an explicit or implicit condition for the safety or release of such hostages.
The family separation policy began as intended to deter illegal immigration, and to force parents to withdraw their immigration petitions. This was done as an attack on the poor, the tired, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. This was done as an act of intentional cruelty against immigrants who only wanted hope.
This is not about left and right, Democrat or Republican but about right and wrong.
Politicians and law enforcement officials alike have violated all of these through family separation. A petition for indictment has already gathered over 600 signatures. We recognize the need to organize at the state and local level to send a message to those guilty now, and all bigots in the future, that this is unacceptable. We must call our politicians every day, and ask that there not only be investigations, but also indictments.