Trump’s Policy on Migrants A Blot on US Human Rights Record: Analyst
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – An American political analyst said the Trump administration’s policy towards migrants at the Mexican border nullifies claims by the US that it is the center of democracy, describing the situation as a blot on the country’s human rights record.
“The American government again would appear to be savage and ruthless, nullifying the country's claims to be the bastion of 'democracy' and 'liberty' for the world. This would be adding upon a burning prairie fire of rage against American injustices that had been kindling since it was revealed that children of immigrants were being detained in concentration camps away from their families. That situation, in particular, may be one of the biggest human rights blots on the American record as of late,” Jakob Musick told Tasnim.
Jakob Musick is an American online radio host and political analyst. He grew up in the United Kingdom and now lives in the Eastern United States. He appears frequently on Iran's PressTV, is the Host of Voice Of The Revolution Radio, and holds a Bachelor's of Arts degree in Cultural Studies from the University of Maryland. Musick is passionate about serving the community, and has worked among the disabled, refugees, students, children, and the elderly in various parts of the United States.
Following is the full text of the interview:
Tasnim: As you know, US President Donald Trump has authorized troops on the Southwest border with Mexico to use lethal force in order to protect Customs and Border Protection personnel from incoming migrants, according to the Pentagon. On Tuesday, senior Border Patrol and Homeland Security officials said authorities used excessive force when they lobbed tear gas into Mexico, targeting crowds of migrants, including women and children, who rushed the border fence. What does Trump’s “lethal force” authorization mean at the border?
Musick: As Donald Trump is chief executive of the country, when he says the phrase "lethal force" exactly that can happen. He is sending a signal to the border patrol officers and the security forces on the US-Mexico border that they not need hold back toward the migrants. This is a signal of permission as much as it is a command. Now I don't believe lethal force will be used. I hope that it will not be used. If everyone in the situation (and this is including the migrants as well) behaves responsibly and does not further destabilize the situation at the border, then there should be no body count. Of course, under this presidency, many are saying 'anything is possible'. Where lethality makes actually occur, where it is much more likely to occur, is in the places in which the migrants are being held. Being crowded into packed stadiums, for example, is currently being used on the Mexican side of the border to house these people. As we know, this type of shelter scheme is not ideal. A sports stadium is not designed for people to live in. Sanitation can quickly degrade, diseases, and theft of food, violence, and even murder can occur. We saw this with the Federal Emergency Management Agency's botched response to the Hurricane Katrina. Homeless people were given little choice but to be crowded into stadiums, and conditions were described as appealing. There was even sexual assault against girls and women that was occurring in these unsecured environments after a short-time. The real 'lethal force' is the conditions that the migrants are held in while awaiting their fate. Unfortunately, many could die from this instead, much less than any 'lethal force' from American troops would instigate.
Tasnim: For weeks, President Trump has been making the case that the migrant caravan poses an immediate and serious danger to the United States. Do you believe so?
Musick: I don't seriously believe that any thinking person would say that a group of (now) stateless, unarmed, starving, ragged, and weak men, women, and children pose any sort of threat, especially not violent. Honestly, the biggest threat to the Americans, at this point, is that border guards may react with 'lethal force' as the president authorized them too, should another group of migrants attempt to illegally cross the border. If this were to occur again, the biggest 'threat' would be the Americans overstepping their response to these bereft people. If America were to point-blank begin to murder defenseless civilians-- men, women, and children-- the world-wide news coverage would be catastrophic. The American government again would appear to be savage and ruthless, nullifying the country's claims to be the bastion of 'democracy' and 'liberty' for the world. This would be adding upon a burning prairie fire of rage against American injustices that had been kindling since it was revealed that children of immigrants were being detained in concentration camps away from their families. That situation, in particular, may be one of the biggest human rights blots on the American record as of late. Not only the world but the American people were outraged. That is not what we as a people stand for. The biggest 'threat' to Americans is if the border forces over-react and the world expresses their revulsion. The State of Israel can kill a child and no one blinks-- because this happens 'all the time'. But imagine if an American border guard shot and killed a Mexican child. *That* would be a red-line for a majority of Americans. We as a nation would be ashamed. The danger to America is America.
Tasnim: Do you not think that the migrant situation near Tijuana undercuts Trump’s proposed solutions?
Musick: From the moment this 'caravan' of people began making their way north through Central America, the news coverage in the United States and Britain was quick to describe this group of people as a 'caravan' of 'migrants'. Words that, in English, would denote a more sympathetic picture, such as 'refugee', were not used. This was partially at the direction of the American government, which set the cues and language which the press followed. The entire flow of stories has been 'x amount of people are in the caravan and moving north' and then Washington's response. This was repeated over and over again for weeks, with each time the statements coming from Washington were more threatening and ambitious. Trump famously campaigned and has started initial steps toward partitioning the US-Mexico border with an impenetrable wall. The experience of watching the 'hordes of migrants' coming closer, and hearing about this every day gives credence to the belligerent statements that the Trump administration makes from Washington. This migration almost has been portrayed as an 'invasion' in the news media, which is exactly what the Trump administration would like the American people and the world to think. I think the situation at border towns, such as Tijuana, will strengthen support for the President's initiatives, such as the partition wall. People who already support the President, or who have been scared by 'the army' that they watch on television every day will be more likely to support the President's plans now. So in the short-term, I do think that supporters of the President and those that are wavering in their support of the President will increase their support for a border wall. However, if the Americans were to over-step, or act too zealously against the refugees, indiscriminately killing the defenseless men, women, and children, this would quickly evaporate. Only the worshipers of the Trump cult of personality that he has created would stick by him. America would again be the shame of the world.
Tasnim: A number of human rights organizations have slammed the move by the Trump administration. However, the international community has still remained silent in the face of the use of “lethal force” againstmen, women, and kids at the border. How could the world help stop this violence?
Musick: I do believe that the whole world would, with unanimity, be not only horrified, but agitated should civilians be murdered by American troops due to this 'lethal force' directive. Especially if a child is a victim of American violence, this will galvanize the already-strong anti-Trump feeling worldwide. In some countries, both the ruling classes and the workers are united in their despising of this man and his policies. There are many reasons not to have faith in the news media, especially if they are commercial or American, but I do believe that all but the most hard-core Trump supporting platforms would feature the violence prominently and for quite a while. With the example of the concentration camps for children of migrants, once that was exposed, it was the top story in the United States for at least three weeks. For the American press, this is blanket coverage. Were Central Americans to be slaughtered by the border guards, this would be doubly worse. Not only the human rights organizations but the people of the world, especially the close-knit peoples of the Central American countries, would denounce this atrocity. America will not be able to get rid of this or 'sweep it under the rug', even should the government attempt a cover-up.