The Republican Demonization of Refugee Children Shames America

The Republican Demonization of Refugee Children Shames America
Murrieta's white folks protest the arrival of brown folks
Murrieta’s white folks protest the arrival of brown folks

On July 15, The New York Times reported that “More than 52,000 children have been caught crossing the United States border alone since October — double last year’s number.”

Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) referred to this flood of refugee children as an “invasion of our nation,” He told World Net Daily and its uneducated readership that “There are more people coming across the border than invaded France in World War II,”

Never mind that the allies sent 160,000 troops across the Channel to Normandy on D-Day alone, and by the end of June, 1944, had shipped across 875,000 men. But Stockman is a Texas Republican so veracity is the last thing you should expect from him.

Pope Francis says “”This humanitarian emergency requires, as a first urgent measure, these children be welcomed and protected.” Far from it, says Michele Bachmann, appearing on CNN’s Crossfire. She shocked co-host Van Jones by calling immigrant children “invaders” and comparing them to rapists.

It was reported Monday by Mother Jones that,

Last week, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) wrote a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with a dire warning: Some of the child refugeesstreaming across the southern border into the United States might carry deadly diseases. “Reports of illegal immigrants carrying deadly diseases such as swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola virus and tuberculosis are particularly concerning,” Gingrey wrote. “Many of the children who are coming across the border also lack basic vaccinations such as those to prevent chicken pox or measles.”

It’s no wonder, with rhetoric like this, that bigoted conservatives are gathering in their thousands to tell immigrant children they’re not welcome in their neighborhood. They are nothing but a bunch of little terrorists after all, future rapists, drug users, and thieves.

As CNN reported,

Earlier this month in Murrieta, busloads of babies in their mothers’ laps, teens, ‘tweens and toddlers were turned back from a detainee facility.

They were met by screaming protesters waving and wearing American flags and bearing signs that read such things as “Return to Sender.”

They were also, to the lasting shame and embarrassment of us all, chanting “USA! USA!”

The American Family Association’s Sandy Rios says they carry diseases and she be treated like lepers (never mind that we don’t even treat lepers like lepers anymore):

I think of biblical times, the lepers were separated — right or wrong — they were separated. It was understood that leprosy was so contagious. So there’s nothing wrong with wanting to separate your children. We used to quarantine people when they had diseases.

“We’re such a healthy people that we’ve forgotten what it’s like to be diseased and die from those diseases in huge numbers,” she said, “but we’re going to learn, I think, again.”

And egads, these kids are transported in the “same planes that you and I fly in.”

“How do we know about lice and disease before they get on public transportation?”

Never mind that these kids are more likely to be immunized than American children and that many of them have their medical records in hand. In other words, they are nothing like Michele Bachmann, who thinks the HPV vaccine made a child mentally retarded, or Rep. Gingrey, who is opposed to mandatory vaccinations.

We saw Arizona’s Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu reveal in a press release the route of a bus full of 40 immigrant children. There must be something in the water in Arizona because that’s all it took to rally the bigots, who gathered in Oracle, Arizona, to do their own Murrieta Intercept. We saw Tea Party candidate Adam Kwasman freak out over a school bus full of – he assumed – those immigrant children. He hurriedly tweeted, “Bus coming in. This is not compassion. This is the abrogation of the rule of law.” It turned out instead to be a bus full of YMCA kids.

Sheriff Paul Babeu, for his part, says letting those kids come into the country only encourages more. He took to Facebook to say, “These children should be returned to their home country — not to Oracle, Arizona, paid for by American taxpayers.”

Slow your roll, Sheriff. They’re children. They’re not a bunch of diseased invaders looking to grow up and rape white women. They’re children.

The Tea Party brought out all that is worst in conservatism and gave it a point of focus. They crazies then took over the asylum and the GOP is itself now in thrall to the extremists, with the result that attacking and demonizing children has become mainstreamed.

As Sonia Nazario writes in a New York Times op-ed, this is a refugee crisis, not an immigration crisis. Even so, when the Statue of Liberty says…

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

…she could have been looking directly at these children. Instead, Huffington Post reports that a new poll shows that,

A near-majority of Americans want the undocumented immigrant children currently being held at the border deported as soon as possible, even though only about one-third of adults think these children have someplace safe to return to, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll finds.

The degree of heartlessness exhibited by Americans – by Republicans in particular – beggars belief. Many of these children are victims of the drug war America is funding, and refuses to end. A drug war those same conservatives support. But then, Republicans want babies to be born without caring what happens to them afterward.

In the end though, you have to wonder how different the Republican reaction would be if these were bus loads of blond-haired and blue-eyed Northern European kids who spoke English. My guess is they’d be volunteering their homes, and serial pedophile Ted Nugent and Duck Dynasty’s Bible-totin’ Phil Robertson would probably not be alone in offering to take the 15-year-old girls into their own homes.

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