Oh, boy. DeWayne Wickham, a columnist for USA Today, has written a new op-ed for the publication on what to do with the influx children migrants as they continue to be detained in facilities after crossing the border. His solution? Move them to Guatanamo Bay.
He argues that while a part of the naval base located in Guatanamo Bay, Cuba is infamous for the prison that housed enemy combatants, that is “just a small portion of the 45-square-mile base.” The base contains movie theaters, fast food places and recreational facilities, infrastructures that do indeed upstage the overflowing facilities that are being used now.
He continues to argue his position, even after acknowledging that when the base was used as a center for Haitians escaping war and bloodshed, “many of them were treated only slightly better than prisoners form the U.S. global war on terrorism.” But don’t fear! Wickham’s solution is to just have the Department of Health and Human Services take over operations at the base for the time being, rather than the Department of Homeland Security. Simple! Done!
Except, not. Wickham simply glosses over the fact that that’s not quite how things work in the naval base, nor has it been the case since 2002. Since then, of the nearly 800 people who have been imprisoned at the base, only eight were convicted by U.S. military commissions as of last year, according to the Huffington Post. Many have and had spent years in the facility. With 149 remaining prisoners at the base now, only about half have been cleared for release. A “temporary” detainment doesn’t seem to be Guatanamo’s strong suit.
But the most chilling and illogical part of Wickham’s argument is his understanding of these children. He states early on, “rather than let the children be treated as political pawns, the president should send them to the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station.”
Then, in a quick turn, he states the following: “Relocating them to Guantanamo would ratchet up the pressure on their home countries to repatriate them. No nation can long ignore the global attention that will follow their lost children to that naval base.”
What’s the definition of a political pawn again? Seems Wickham might need a refresher. Step one in dealing with the influx: understanding that these children are, in fact, human beings. Not just extra things we can move around from place to place.
What do you think of Wikham’s argument? Are you in favor or against?