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Discussion on: Why is GitHub supporting Child Separation Agency?

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shushugah profile image
shushugah Author

The big question to me here is, can you call ICE a democratic institution? Most of what we know about it is thanks to whistleblowers and or detainees themselves, as opposed to government accounts. edition.cnn.com/2019/10/24/us/ice-...

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dkamer profile image
David Kamer

You can call it an institution that is subservient to a democracy. It answers to the executive branch of the United States Government which is duly elected. Congressional oversight is also applicable, and when a law is passed to stop or inhibit (or ebbed) actions for the institution, it's done at the behest of elected officials from the governing country.

Now if they violate international law, that's slightly different. But I don't think they have at this point. Every country separates children from their families, so I would assume if that's a violation of international law. Like the Jugendamt in Germany.

So if there is an actual violation of human rights, that's the place to start. But interpretation is malleable as anyone who understands "legislating from the bench" would know. That means using "human rights" without considering the implications of the argument only weakens the strength of the actual cases that involve human rights such as those in North Korea where children are worked to death in prison camps.

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dkamer profile image
David Kamer

Once again, I'm not saying I support it or that I don't. I'm simply saying that if they deem it neccessary and/or a law tells them they have to or a no law tells them they can't (and it's a reasonable action) then they are acting as the hand of a democratic government.

Also, to my knowledge, human right violations always have direct tangible (physical) effects that are life altering to the individual, and the individual is not in any form responsible for the harm done to them. If it is a human rights violation, then we should consider if we need some sort of system to determine severity and seriousness of these allegations, because a holocaust can't be defined as in the same category as temporary family separation caused by parental misconduct (because in the eyes of my government it's detaining a criminal, so they derive authority to separate the child just as in incarceration of a criminal).

Let me stress that I'm not speaking to what I emotionally believe. This is just how it works in our system. It sucks. But they system isn't killing, maiming or raping anyone, so I am currently not emotionally involved to a level that would persuade me to favor action over democracy.

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dmfay profile image
Dian Fay

But they system isn't killing, maiming or raping anyone, so I am currently not emotionally involved to a level that would persuade me to favor action over democracy.

About that:

theintercept.com/2018/04/11/immigr...
nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/2...
hackinglawpractice.com/ice-stopped...

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dkamer profile image
David Kamer

This isn't systematic. It happens in non-institutional environments. Do you know if the date is lower or higher for these facilities when compared to the general public?

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dmfay profile image
Dian Fay

I do not, and furthermore, I don't particularly care. Institutions on which detainees are wholly and directly dependent are not meaningfully comparable to society at large. I think that the scope of the abuses which has been documented so far constitutes, in and of itself, grounds for sunsetting our current immigration enforcement agencies with expedience and putting a lot of people on trial.

Whether or not you are aware of it, your position appears to have shifted in the course of two posts from "these institutions can be tolerated, so long as they don't have a body count" to "these institutions can be tolerated, so long as they are not explicitly organized toward murder and/or rape on an industrial scale". There's a lot of room between those two statements.

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dkamer profile image
David Kamer

No, my position is that as long as it isn't work camps or concentration camps, then it is a matter to be taken up by our democracy and not activists directly attacking the enforcement of policy.

My only other argument is against shifting the definition of the US facilities to something similar to a North Korean labor camp, a concentration camp, or even a Japanese Internment camp is a terrible way forward.

I just want to make it clear that at some point the democratic process becomes an excuse for crime, but this is clearly not it.

I support your right to hate it and to speak against what you feel is wrong, but I do not support anything that defiles the democratic process.

Please vote, yell, and convince because that breeds an environment of intelligent concensus. Please don't use espionage (for lack of better vocabulary) tactics against random bureaucratic organizations.

Not getting what we want is something we have to accept when living in a society. People die in prison from mistreatment, and that is something I feel strongly about it, but I do not see boycott or forced increased expense as a viable solution.

Just convince people your argument is correct. Any other tactic beyond logic is, in my opinion, hostile to democracy.

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dmfay profile image
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dkamer profile image
David Kamer

"a place where large numbers of people, especially political prisoners or members of persecuted minorities, are deliberately imprisoned in a relatively small area with inadequate facilities, sometimes to provide forced labor or to await mass execution. The term is most strongly associated with the several hundred camps established by the Nazis in Germany and occupied Europe in 1933–45, among the most infamous being Dachau, Belsen, and Auschwitz."

They aren't this. Word games aside, they aren't designed for extermination or even penal purposes as was with the Japanese Internment camps.

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dmfay profile image
Dian Fay

Large numbers of people, check; deliberately imprisoned, check; relatively small area, check; inadequate facilities, check. If you look, "concentration" doesn't mean or even necessarily suggest punishment or extermination.

You may additionally want to investigate the distinction between "penal" and "penile", while you're at it.

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dkamer profile image
David Kamer

Thank you for correcting my spelling. That could cause me a lot of embarrassment in a less forgiving environment.

Right, but all of those boxes are also checked for any prison that currently exists or has existed. So we're in a discussion about connotation.

Do you personally believe these are camps equivalent to the ones found in Nazi Germany?

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dkamer profile image
David Kamer

To be clear, I wish ICE would spend more time and resources on busting sex trafficking, but it's a political thing in my view point. If you can successfully convince me that these are literally death camps, then I'll be the first to rise up in force and the first willing to give my life to stop it.

But that's not what it is. It's just finding and recording people who didn't stop at customs from what I've read.

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dmfay profile image
Dian Fay

Again, you've gone from saying that there's a problem worth organizing against if our immigration system has a human cost to insisting that there's only such a problem if we're overtly attempting genocide on the border. This is not the strategy of a reasonable person open to being convinced. There isn't much more I could or would say without being openly contemptuous of a worldview which insists that the vote is the one and only legitimate exercise of political pressure (as the old saw goes, if voting changed anything they'd outlaw it; and it bears remembering that this was happening under Obama, too) and splits hairs about how much concentration camp is too much concentration camp.

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dkamer profile image
David Kamer

Depriving "concentration camps" of resources will make the lives of the individuals within better or worse?

You seem to mix the practical with the political issues. Voting is the only legitimate way to interact in a democracy. Anything else: the few attempting to govern the many.

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andreirusu_ profile image
Andrei Rusu

Hey everyone. I'm jumping in here a bit later, but I hope you will still consider this. It is deeply troubling that in a forum such as this one here, we are still debating if we can call ICE "a democratic institution".

It is beyond any dispute that it is an organization with a blatant disregard for human suffering. The question to be asked here is not if we should abolish it, it is how we can influence that decision. And publicly calling out Github for its association is a start, a step in the right direction.

Whether or not the detention centres are at the same level or comparable with Nazi "concentration camps" is also beside the point. It would take a committee of Holocaust historians and other experts to draw that conclusion. But there is ample evidence of appalling treatment of the detainees and horrible incidents, including deaths due to negligence, that have occurred in those facilities, something which is in open violation with international law.

You don't have to link those incidents to atrocities that have occurred in the Nazi concentration camps in order to validate their evilness. And you don't have to wait for the ICC or the UN to issue a statement before condemning them as facilities which operate on a policy of subhuman treatment. And regarding the defence of the "duly elected" democratic system, please keep in mind that some of the most horrendous authoritarians have risen to power also by "democratic" means.

For us, as software professionals, the question still remains why is Github, indeed, so enthusiastic about this contract. Also, it should be pointed out that voting isn't the only legitimate way to interact in a democracy. For example, citizens of Switzerland can at any point request a referendum and ask that specific laws which they don't agree with should be revisited.

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shushugah profile image
shushugah Author

Indeed, and even despite the massive pushback and campaigns, GitHub is doubling down, and at the next Git Merge conference, they invited Palantir to speak....just why? git-merge.com/#elijah-newren