This week’s reading by Klaus Michael Mallmann and Gerhard Paul deals with the idea of the Gestapo and how feared they were despite their low numbers and little ability to actually put the entire nation on surveillance. Throughout the Nazi reign the Gestapo were perceived as an absolute force and idea of the Nazi surveillance state but the authors discover that their power was greatly in the minds of Germans. In fact, there were relatively few Gestapo officers and they required the help from citizens reporting on their neighbors as well as the local police. While their tactics were terrifying, their actual ability to act was limited by their resources.
This made me think of President Trump’s newest immigration policy in which he initiates the effort to deport 11 million people. The article in the New York Times, New Trump Deportation Rules Allow Far More Expulsions, outlines Trump’s plan to use the police in every city and state to help with border security. Under previous administrations, efforts were focused on border security within a 100-mile radius and focused on individuals most likely to commit crimes once in the country. The new policy would broaden the work of police forces in every city and state to act as immigration officers.
Like the Gestapo, current immigration officers are unprepared to tackle the massive challenge of rounding up 11 million people. Trump’s plan to use the police for a job they are unqualified and unprepared to do is dangerous. Likewise, the plan will also need the help of neighbors reporting on neighbors and implementing a great sense of fear and distrust throughout the nation. This kind of fear mongering cannot last in the United States. Unlike in Nazi Germany, the U.S. does have the resources to establish a complete surveillance state and monitor for illegal immigration. However, this would be detrimental to the society as we know it and seriously curtail our freedoms.