President Biden recently appeared to deny a Wall Street Journal report that the administration is considering paying illegal immigrant families that were separated during the Trump administration around $450,000 a person in compensation for the government subjecting them to “lasting psychological trauma.” But White House spokesmen later backtracked, saying the president was open to payments to illegals, and the Justice Department and the ACLU confirmed that negotiations were ongoing as to the size of the payout.
The report was greeted with outrage, given that even a smaller payment would still likely be greater than the “death gratuity” paid to the families of fallen soldiers or the amount received by some 9/11 families. Such callousness is consistent with the long-standing practice of federal officials often treating non-citizens, including those who violate our laws, better than the Americans they are sworn to protect and defend. In fact, when it comes to American citizens, federal officials often fight to the bitter end to deny them compensation for the harm that their government does to them.
Take for example, the case of the hundreds of thousands of American citizens, including me, who lived downwind from the above-ground nuclear tests conducted by the United States in the 1950s and 1960s—the “downwinders”. We were sickened and thousands of our family members, friends, and neighbors died terrible deaths from the effects of the radioactive fallout.
It’s important to understand that downwinders are descendants of the tough pioneer stock who settled in Utah as well as the indigenous people who have long inhabited the area. We are all self-reliant people who, in the 1950s and 1960s, lived on ranches and in small towns and who spent most of our time outdoors. We grew our own food, milked our own cows and raised our own livestock. We didn’t have medical insurance or any real medical facilities closer than a three to five hour drive to Salt Lake City.
Unlike illegal aliens, it took downwinders almost 40 years from the time the testing began to finally get the U.S. government to admit what it had done to them. Following multiple court cases and the release of previously classified materials, Congress eventually passed legislation providing compensation for downwinders on a case-by-case basis rather than as a class-action. And then the maximum payment was set at $50,000 as long as we had lived in the right geographic area and contracted one of the 19 officially recognized cancers. No one got a penny for their “lasting psychological trauma,” no families who lost their livelihoods became millionaires, and federal officials made the process to claim compensation as complicated as possible.
Furthermore, rather than embracing us as they do illegal aliens, federal officials defined us as “a low use segment of the population.” And, despite the fact that we were American citizens, they determined that we were an expendable and insignificant portion of the population. Then these same federal officials ensured that nuclear tests were only conducted when the wind would blow the highly radioactive fallout clouds onto us—the downwinders.
Then our government consistently lied to us. For example, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) repeatedly assured us that there was no danger. In fact, they encouraged us to “participate in a moment of history” by going outside to watch the sky light up as an atomic bomb was detonated. An AEC brochure distributed to residents in southwestern Utah in 1953 read: “Your best action is not to be worried by fallout” and we believed them.
We now know that the 126 fallout clouds from above ground nuclear tests, including some with radiation levels comparable to those released at Chernobyl, deposited their radiation on millions innocent American men, women, and children and on the food they ate and in the milk they drank—not just in the officially declared downwind areas but all across the United States as well.
For over ten years, the U.S. government sent wave after wave of radioactive fallout over the downwinders and other Americans across the nation. The result was birth defects, cancers, and other ailments as well as the loss of livelihoods as large number of livestock died and crops failed.
It is now known that these Americans were for all intents and purposes human guinea pigs, as revealed by an AEC document titled Medical Experiments in Humans. Over time, large numbers of downwinders contracted and died horrible deaths from fallout-induced cancers.
Unlike medical professionals who support illegal alien claims of psychological trauma, doctors who treated fallout victims stood with the government and refused to sign letters stating that their diseases were fallout related.
As many downwinders pointed out, the U.S. government refused to help them—even while they were helping non-Americans who had been exposed to fallout from nuclear tests outside of the United States. This anti-American bias continues to this day where illegal alien families are apparently going to be enriched overnight by federal authorities.
Of course, this was not the only time that the federal government turned on American citizens who it determined to be less deserving of protection than others. Between 1932 and 1972 by the United States Public Health Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a study on a group of nearly 600 impoverished American citizens—African Americans with syphilis in the Tuskegee Syphilis Study.
The men were promised free medical care but were never informed of their syphilis diagnosis. They were given placebos and ineffective treatments in a study that lasted 40 years. None of the infected men were treated with penicillin despite the fact that by 1947 it was widely available as a treatment for syphilis. Twenty-eight patients died directly from syphilis, 100 died from complications related to syphilis, 40 of the patients' wives were infected with syphilis, and 19 children were born with congenital syphilis.
Unlike illegal aliens who stand to get rich, all these African Americans and their families received from the U.S. government was a belated apology from President Clinton in 1997. They didn’t receive huge payouts for the physical and psychological trauma that they, their families, and their descendants suffered.
Of course, there are other examples of mistreatment of American citizens and the government’s refusal to acknowledge what it has done. Vietnam veterans have never been satisfactorily compensated for the harm they suffered from Agent Orange. Residents living near U.S. military bases are left holding the bag when pollutants enter the ground water and destroy their health and livelihoods. And even today, our wounded warriors have to rely on charitable groups to meet many of their needs.
When Americans hear that the Biden administration and the Washington, D.C.-centric federal government was even considering giving illegal aliens $450,000 each, they are justifiably shocked and angry.