Our Opinion: Fight border camps with voices, numbers

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If there is anyone in America who still believes that the appalling migrant camps along our southern border are "fake news" or "liberal propaganda" they should read the report on the camps compiled by the inspector general's office of the Trump administration's Department of Homeland Security. It will be educational.

On Tuesday, the inspector general's office headed by Jennifer Costello reported that an inspection by the department of the Border Patrol detention facilities in South Texas revealed that the roughly 8,000 immigrants held there were subjected to "serious overcrowding" and prolonged detention. The office's report was accompanied by disturbing photos of the conditions the migrants are being subjected to.

"Specifically, when detainees observed us, they banged on the cell windows, shouted, pressed notes to the window with their time in custody, and gestured to evidence of their time in custody," read the admirably frank report.

That men, women and children exercising their right to request asylum are treated in such a fashion is an embarrassment to a nation that long prided itself on the way it treated people fleeing brutal circumstances in their home countries. U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, speaking Tuesday in her official position and "as a pediatrician and also as a mother," said was shocked that "children are forced to sleep on the floor in overcrowded facilities, without access to adequate healthcare or food, and with poor sanitation conditions."

The border policy that led to these camps is born of the president's zeal to deny admission to Central and South Americans and is exacerbated by his incompetence. Like so many Trump abominations, it is doubly frustrating to Americans because there is little they can do about it. But those sickened by the detention camps do have their voices and they do have numbers.

On Friday, the "Lights for Liberty' coalition will hold vigils across the country to end the border camps and assure that the detainees are provided with due process. Currently, 34 vigils are scheduled for communities in Massachusetts, including Great Barrington and Pittsfield (see letter this page.) A candlelight vigil will be held at 8:30 p.m. on the lawn of the First Congregational Church in Great Barrington and a vigil will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Park Square in Pittsfield. Twelve churches and organizations from all over Berkshire County are sponsoring the vigils.

Border camps resulting from the policies of our president shame all of us as Americans. We should do what we can to see that they are closed and justice done for their inhabitants.

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