It’s getting hard to sustain the outrage, but we must.
The Trump administration has now increased the deportation of undocumented immigrants back to Mauritania, a country known for enslaving its black residents. Yes, you read that right, literal black slavery.
Immigration policies and practices are never easy, and even administrations with the best of intentions have done things for which this country should be ashamed, including the Obama administration. We should never forget that and it should be top of mind when we vote in November, in 2020, and beyond.
But the Trump administration—led by a man who has repeatedly demeaned non-white immigrants—has taken things to all-new-lows. He’s trying to curtail legal immigration by the millions in order to slow down demographic changes that are projected to transform the U.S. into a majority-minority nation. He’s trying to break the will of undocumented immigrants who show up on our southern border by essentially stealing their children, many of whom are unlikely to ever be returned to their parents. Now Donald Trump, Kanye West’s hero, is ramping up the deportation of black men and women to a country it knows traffics in black slavery. Apparently, Kanye and others might be OK with such a move because, after all, slavery is a choice. Right?
Yet this week, the Trump administration may deport four black men to Mauritania, a Muslim-majority nation in Africa that the CIA describes as a hotbed for human trafficking and modern-day slavery of its black minority residents. If the deportations are carried out, they would represent the latest in a growing number of black Mauritanians forced to return to a nation that their attorneys say could lead to imprisonment, torture, slavery or death.
From fiscal years 2014 to 2017, Immigration and Customs Enforcement averaged just seven deportations to Mauritania each year based on those concerns. But in 2018, the agency deported 79 people to Mauritania, and ICE says another 22 are in custody awaiting deportation.
When we look back at these times, we will be ashamed. I hope we feel a little of that today.