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Auschwitz, Texas

Dark, darker, darkest.
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The USA seems to be somewhat preoccupied with the problem of illegal immigrants. We consider that most of the solutions so far proposed lack imagination, and offer relatively poor cost-benefit. A major objective would be to reduce the attractiveness of immigration to those outside the country, particularly those on the southern border. With this in mind, a self-publicizing deterrent would be advantageous.

The scheme would involve a disused military base (or similar installation which can be cheaply repurposed) in southern Texas. A railroad line would be required, running into the camp, which would have a brick arch gateway identical to the one at Auschwitz, with the cheery slogan “Arbeit Macht Frei” in wrought iron work over the entrance. There would be the usual dismal wooden or concrete barrack-like huts, and a couple of low buildings distant from the main part with tall chimneys that intermittently belch unpleasant black smoke. The compound would be ringed with razor wire and guard towers.

Here's how it would work:

Any illegal immigrant caught by the authorities is made "an offer they can't refuse". In return for playing along with the scheme, they will be offered a complete, genuine , legal US identity, including resettlement - similar to witness protection. If they agree, then at various “discreet” (actually, semi-public) locations they are “loaded” into cattle trucks. In fact, most of the interior of the "truck" is a comfortable, air-conditioned coach. Only the battered, wooden outside appears "distressed" – it’s a fake. The occupants take it in turns to peer through the tiny barred ventilation slots to plaintively importune anyone at the trackside as the train meanders slowly through urban and suburban areas, to gain maximum visibility and publicity. Eventually, the train arrives at the camp.

The occupants are “herded” at gunpoint through the gates and into the barracks. These apparent barracks are in fact really luxurious, with every modern comfort. The "guards" are in fact the occupants, who take it in turns to don uniforms and plod round the perimeter or peer from the watchtowers. Occasionally, guards will be seen moving groups of "inmates" from place to place. The perimeter will be placed sufficiently far from the camp that those who sneak up, equipped with long lenses on their cameras can obtain photographs – but only of poor quality; the flatness of the terrain, lack of observation points, and an air exclusion zone, prevent anything better.

Now comes The Big Lie. The government constantly claims that the camp is merely a resettlement centre, preparing the occupants for a better life through education and skills training, including spoken and written English*.

But in fact, the camp really is a resettlement centre, preparing the occupants for a better life through education and skills training, including spoken and written English - however, no-one will believe this. To add to the deception, the camp authorities will start to sell, at slightly below market prices, a range of products under the "Theresienstadt" brand name, including soap, lampshades made of fine parchment, and pre-owned clothes, shoes, and eyeglasses.

Journalists will be given carefully guided tours of small areas of the site, through bleak, spartan accommodation holding sullen, cowed inmates, who nervously insist that they are treated very well, are happy, and everything is fine. Inmates will then covertly pass notes to the nosey journos, giving vague, unverifiable but horrific details of life there. They snoopers also be permitted to see a brief and seemingly accidental glimpse inside a much less pleasant accommodation block.

After a reasonable time, if they have played their role, residents are supplied with a complete new (genuine) identity, and relocated to somewhere a long way away, with assistance to establish themselves in a home with a paying job - the condition being that they never tell what's happened, never contact anyone they knew in their previous life or from the camp, or write anything down.

Soon the rumours will begin. "They're putting immigrants in cattle trucks and shipping them to a camp in the desert. No-one ever leaves, but they're making soap and lampshades there, plus selling old clothing and stuff. They MUST be killing the immigrants, just like the Nazis did the Jews at Auschwitz”.

Of course the government denies this most strenuously, publishes details and pictures of happy, well-fed detainees, and even provides names and details – genuine details – of former inmates – who, oddly, can never be found. As a result, everyone believes the rumours. Illegal immigration falls, dramatically - no-one wants to end up in the home lighting and decor section of Wal-Mart priced at $24.99 plus tax.

It won't even affect the US’s international image. The countries that hate the US will still hate them, and the ones that don’t will be secretly envious.

*Since this may make it difficult for the new citizens to make themselves understood anywhere south of the Manson-Nixon line, a subsequent module will acquaint them with the peculiarities of the American dialect.

8th of 7, Jan 20 2019

China's concentration camps https://www.bbc.co..../China_hidden_camps
[xenzag, Jan 20 2019]

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       Why not just publicise Guantanamo Bay a little more? Held indefinitely without trial, occasional torture... Seems like it would be a deterrent.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 20 2019

       Too much of a known quantity, and no opportunity to stage the "adverse publicity".
8th of 7, Jan 20 2019

       I'm sure the Bay could be expanded, to address das terroristische Problem.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 20 2019

       Baked in China. See link. Trumpski thinks they're a 'good idea'.
xenzag, Jan 20 2019

       If concentration camps really worked, you'd expect inmates to be coming up with some really profound thoughts.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 20 2019

       // Baked in China. //   

       No, it isn't. Those are actual detention camps, not a publicly stunt.   

       // Trumpski thinks they're a 'good idea'. //   

       Detaining without trial anyone who disagrees with you ? Yes, excellent. No wonder he's in favour.
8th of 7, Jan 20 2019

       //Those are actual detention camps, not a publicly stunt// That just shows how effective the Chinese deception is. It's 'your' idea working perfectly - ie you're totally convinced they're real.
xenzag, Jan 20 2019

       But, but, but it's on the BBC ... that means it MUST be true - doesn't it ... ?
8th of 7, Jan 20 2019

       What makes you think that's the real BBC? You're an easy touch these days. Smarten up!
xenzag, Jan 20 2019

       Shh. We haven't told him Richard Baker's dead.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 20 2019

       Richard Baker's DEAD ?   

       Nooooooooooo !!!!!   

       <Distraught sobbing/>
8th of 7, Jan 20 2019

       There's a small problem of those who leave telling the real truth, and them not appearing as starved and abused.
RayfordSteele, Jan 21 2019

       // women's rights //   

       Sp. "writes", shirley ?   

       We remain to be convinced of the benefits of even teaching women to read, let alone write. It's a well-known fact that excessive (i.e. any) education causes their heads to explode.   

       // those who leave telling the real truth, and them not appearing as starved and abused. //   

       You mean the ones that get hunted down and killed by death squads, and then have a criminal record faked up to make it look like just another drug-related execution ?   

       Once you sign up, that's it, for life - or not, as the case may be. Think of it as a kinder, gentler version of Catholicism.
8th of 7, Jan 21 2019

       There's no need to make it luxurious, a reasonable middle-class lifestyle is sufficient, especially considering the additional expenses involved with legal teams and hiring teachers. Also you will need real cops, doctors, nurses, and guards there doing real nurse, police and guard duty. There's no need to make the train cars luxurious either, it's a fairly short trip and it would be too easy to see inside them.   

       There are some real scumbags trying to cross the border and a lot of people are forced into working as mules, are evil scumbags, or have other histories that will need to be sorted. This would be a very expensive program. I would, however, happily vote for a very toned-down version without the lampshades. [+]   

       On a personal note my theory is that this kinder, gentler Borg comes out when the Borg Queen is happy and the more atrocious Borg when the Queen is unhappy.
Voice, Jan 21 2019

       //Once you sign up, that's it, for life - or not, as the case may be. Think of it as a kinder, gentler version of Catholicism.//   

       You may be thinking of Islam.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 22 2019


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