President Donald Trump’s controversial pardoning of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio is an endorsement of concentration camps in the United States, according to a historian specializing in the subject.
“Once Arpaio began neighborhood sweeps and traffic stops deliberately targeting Latinos, and then detaining them without charges, his whole enterprise tilted further toward being a concentration camp for that set of detainees,” Andrea Pitzer, author of One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps, told the Huffington Post. “And even for those who had been convicted of crimes, it was a harrowing, often deadly experience.”
“When it was just Arpaio and his deputies doing it, it was a freelance, loose-cannon operation. What happened yesterday is that the President of the United States put his position behind it and used executive power to bless these tactics,” she wrote. “Historically, when this kind of thing has happened, it’s encouraged other people to take up the same tactics.”
“I already have a concentration camp,” Arpaio admitted in 2008. “It’s called Tent City.”
“Tent City” refers the infamous outdoor jail compound that housed over 500,000 inmates. Tent city was referred to as, “Arizona’s concentration camp.”
“I think that Tent City has been very successful,” Arpaio told Fox 10 in Phoenix during the 2016 election campaign. “Why would four presidential candidates come down here and stand next to me and say they will put tents up around the nation.”
Arpaio thanked Alex Jones, Roger Stone and Matt Drudge for “reaching the president” to arrange the pardon.
Harvard Law professor Noah Feldman argued that the pardon was an impeachable offense.
Some of the harshest criticism of the pardon has come from the state of Arizona.
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) August 26, 2017
The Arizona Republic today editorialized against Trump pardoning Arpaio.
“The pardon was a sign of pure contempt for every American who believes in justice, human dignity and the rule of law,” Republic concluded. “By pardoning Arpaio, Trump made it clear that institutional racism is not just OK with him. It is a goal. That should trouble every American who believes that our duty as a nation is to continue working on behalf of equal justice.”
Watch Jorge Romas go inside ‘Tent City’ in 2013: