ICE: An Infestation of Feckless Abusers

“The vast majority, vast, vast majority of children who are in the care of H.H.S. right now — 10,000 of the 12,000 — were sent here alone by their parents. That is when they were separated….10,000 of those currently in custody were sent by their parents with strangers to undertake a completely dangerous and deadly travel alone. We now care for them. We have high standards. We give them meals, we give them education, we give them medical care. There is videos, there is TVs, I visited the detention centers myself.”
– Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen
6/18/18 White House Press Conference

 

To hear the Trump administration explain things, it sounds like there are 10,000 reckless parents who selfishly pawned their children off on others in an attempt to get them to America. The other option, of course, is that there is an “infestation” of young MS-13 members who have mobilized themselves and planned to infiltrate our borders by pretending to be crying 2 year olds. We are heroes for tolerating this invasion of baby gangbangers — we even give them TVs! Who cares about their shitty parents, the ones who needlessly decided to endanger the lives of their own children? These children should be grateful to live in our mesh prisons.

Screen Shot 2018-06-21 at 4.25.39 PM
From UNHCR’s Children on the Run

In reality, the bulk of the 12,000 children who are now living in America’s camps likely went to hell and back before they ever started their journeys to the US.

Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador form one of the most violent regions in the world, known as the Northern Triangle. In 2015 alone, this region accounted for 110,000 asylum seekers — and a good deal of them were unaccompanied minors. Even before 2015, the number of children fleeing their home countries in the triangle for the US increased so much each year that the UN Refugee Agency asked 404 unaccompanied children detained by US authorities to explain why they left. Their answers can largely be summed up as fear: fear of the gangs taking over their cities, fear of forced recruitment into human smuggling, fear of being killed after witnessing a crime, or fear of sexual assault. In some cases the children were victims of violent or sexual crime at the time they left; other times, they knew it was a very likely possibility and considered it safer to risk coming to America.

Screen Shot 2018-06-21 at 4.24.26 PM
From UNHCR’s Children on the Run

With over 5,000 murders in 2016, El Salvador has a murder rate of 82.84 — the highest in the world (as high as that number it is, it’s an improvement from 2015, when El Salvador’s murder rate was 105.44.). In 2014, the rate of sexual offenses against children in El Salvador was a horrifying 85.5.

The UNHCR study found that for children from El Salvador, “he children described their everyday challenges of evading extortion; witnessing murders; and navigating threats to themselves and their families, friends and neighbors. Children who had not yet been victims of violence spoke of their own fears and their families’ fear with the same inevitability. The girls shared their fears of sexual violence.”

Honduras has the second highest international murder rate, with 56.52 murders per 100,000 citizens. The rate of sexual assault against children was 66.9 in 2013. The children from Honduras reported abuse at home, deprivation, and “forty-four percent…were threatened with or were victims of violence by organized armed criminal actors.” In 2014 a Washington Post photographer documented the work of Honduran police. The pictures he took are a good indicator of the gang violence that permeate the country. 

So children are fleeing their homes, everything and everyone they know, because the risk of being murdered or raped is so high that they think the potentially deadly journey to America is a better option. And instead of embracing children who have survived horrors most of us adults will never know, we lock them up and do all the things they were afraid would happen to them in their home countries.

Ripping children from their parents isn’t the only problem with our immigration system. Abuse and mistreatment are rampant in the system. On the heels of the family separation policy, some detention centers have received national attention over the abuse migrant children have suffered by border patrol agents. But the abuse is nothing new.

In 2014, seven year old Nayely Beltran made headlines throughout Texas when it was reported she was suffering from a malignant brain tumor while living in the Karnes County Residential Center. Even though Nayely and her mother had passed the first part of the test for asylum, she was denied treatment by ICE. It wasn’t until public outcry became too great that ICE finally allowed the pair to leave the facility so Nayely could get treatment.

Nayely was lucky — it took months, but she was able to get treatment. In 2014, the Office of Inspector General and Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties documented the abuses unaccompanied minors faced: “One quarter of the children reported physical abuse, including sexual assault, the use of stress positions, and beatings by Border Patrol agents. More than half reported verbal abuse, including death threats. More than half also reported denial of necessary medical care—resulting, at times, in hospitalization. Eighty percent reported inadequate food and water.”

In 2015 CASA sent Texas Governor Greg Abbott a letter requesting that the state deny license applications for detention centers for ICE. “Since the opening of these two detention facilities, ICE has failed to ensure adequate access to and quality of care, failed to obtain informed consent to medical treatment, failed to exercise adequate oversight and accountability, and sanctioned questionable medical ethics.” The letter documented the repeated failure to provide medical care to the migrants, and highlighted individual stories.

CASA said young children were told to drink more water as cure for fevers, and not provided with any care from specialists. In one case, a three year old girl’s eardrum exploded, and and she was diagnosed with an ear infection. The doctor gave her a prescription for Vicks Vaporub, and told her mother “she had either a virus or an infection that would go away in two to three weeks.”

In another case, a three year old boy and his mother were detained at Artesia Family Residential Center. The child had watched his father rape and beat his mother daily at home in Honduras, and one day when the three year old boy tried to intervene, his father beat him and put a  gun to his head. Both mother and child suffered from severe PTSD, with the child repeatedly expressing fear over the ICE officers shooting him. A psychologist that interviewed him concluded “it is my opinion that both mother and son will continue deteriorating emotionally until they are in a safe family environment.” Instead, the pair would remain at Artesia for over 3 months, with the child continuing to fear the new men with guns in his life.

The ACLU’s report of neglect and abuse by the CBP shares similar stores. One pregnant teenager wrote that agents yelled at her and other pregnant minors that the agents “didn’t ask you to come to our country” and that the girls were there “to contaminate the US with [their] babies.”

Screen Shot 2018-06-22 at 2.29.48 PM

The reports goes on to say “when an infant detained in that same room soiled his pants through his diaper, the agents made his mother remove his pants and throw them in the trash. The agents did not, however, provide the infant with another diaper or pair of pants, even though the room was extremely cold.The child eventually became sick.”

Olivia López, a former employee at the Karnes County Residential Center, spoke to the LA Times in 2015 about her experiences working there, and her reasons for quitting. One of the prisoners was a five year old girl who was raped on her journey to the US. The child lost weight and  started wearing diapers again. When López told her boss what was going on, her boss told her she was wrong.

Families aren’t just going on a dangerous trek to America because they want to steal jobs and kill white women and get free TVs, or whatever other misinformation has spread. They’re coming here because it’s the least horrible option.  Mistreatment of immigrants by ICE is nothing new; it’s not a Trump thing, it’s an ICE thing. Do not be fooled by measures to reunite families while holding them captive — children don’t belong in cages, with our without their parents.

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter or read more of my writing on immigrationviolence against immigrant women, and police brutality.  

Screen Shot 2018-06-27 at 1.36.49 PM

 

 

Advertisements

How Trump’s Rust Belt Voters Have Changed Since the Election: They Haven’t

Since we haven’t had a single profile of Trump voters, thank god someone at Bloomberg had the genius idea to go out into the heartland and track rust belt Trump voters over the course of seventeen months. I summarized a couple of them last week, and here are the rest of the masters of cognitive dissonance.

Michael Makowski, 55
Tennessee 

Michael’s life was changed in high school when he wrote a report on Reagan his senior year. I like to think there is an Alternate Universe Michael that did a book report on Atlas Shrugged, but I digress.

Jan 30, 2017

After a weekend of airport protests in opposition to Trump’s immigration order

They’re worried he’s going to put them back to work. If you can stand in the middle of a highway and wave a cell phone in the middle of the night, you’re certainly capable of holding a job during the day.

Okay. There is a lot to unpack here, and it’s all horrible.

Is he confusing BLM protests with the protests that happened inside airports? Does he think airports have highways inside of them? I’ve been to many BLM protests, and I don’t recall ever waving my cell phone while blocking 395. If we were protesting during the middle of the night, would it even be a protest? Who is driving? Drunks? We’re dying in that case. What jobs are equivalent to waving cell phones in the middle of the night? Is Michael just saying words to say them, with no regard for actual meaning or conclusions? I think this incredibly well thought out opinion by a Trump voter sums up the entire 2016 election.

Mar 30, 2017

One week after the first defeat of a promised Affordable Care Act repeal

I don’t know what the rush was.

What. The rush? Paul Ryan’s entire life goal has been has been to repeal the ACA since the day it was enacted. What the fuck is Michael even talking about?

May 05, 2017

After House approval of a health-care bill

I’m happy about it. Sounds like it’s going to save us a little bit of money and not hurt too many people.

Yup. That’s what I look for. Saving a “little bit of money” while not hurting too many people. A few poors are worth a couple bucks in my pocket!

Aug 15, 2017

On Trump’s response to Charlottesville altercations

Donald Trump took a few days to have all the facts before he made his speech on Charlottesville. He didn’t rely just on what the media was telling him. He acted on the facts. He blamed both sides.

Right. We know. Most people think that when a Nazi murders someone, blaming people who are anti-Nazis is not good.

The economy’s improving. Everybody’s buying new vehicles. I went to purchase a new truck and I have to wait 10 months for it.

Ford is doing a good job selling F150s, so Trump made the economy is A+.

Tom Anslow, 63
Ohio

With a resume that includes grocery store bagger and restaurant manager, it makes perfect sense that Tom is a Republican. He found Trump “intriguing,” which is perhaps the most important quality one can seek out in the leader of the free world. For reasons, Tom also found the female candidate, Hillary Clinton, to be distrustful. Tom’s main concern is healthcare, as his plan runs out at the end of the year.

We are hurting over health care. It’s a weekly discussion in our house. I never wanted to be 65 in my life, but I do now.

My uninsured ass and janky forever broken pinky finger can totally relate to that, Tom. Unfortunately I won’t die in a few years and escape the fallout of being uninsured.

The Democrats and Republicans, they’re just two sides to a counterfeit coin.

Yup. The people who want you to be insured are just like the people who want you to figure it out in the private market — the market they don’t want to have regulated. The people who want to make a Muslim ban are the same as the ones who don’t. Tell me more, white man.

May 07, 2017

After House approval of a health-care bill

I’m not pleased with the uncertainty. Who the heck knows what’s going to come out? [But Trump’s pushing to get it passed] is his job, to get this thing through. He stepped up, he got it done.

Oh, Tom. I assume you’re talking about the plan that rolled back Medicaid expansion. Surely the reason you want to be 65 has nothing to do with Medicaid…right? Or are you a hypocrite, Tom?

Geno DiFabio, 55
Ohio

Geno was a Democrat his whole life, but decided to switch to Trump after his blue hometown suffered financially as the steel industry collapsed.

He’s not going to get the press on his side, but he has to silence them a little bit.

That is exactly what POTUS should do!!! Silence the press.

May 07, 2017

After House approval of a health-care bill

I think that when we see the final product, it’s going to be better than what we have. I’m hoping.

I mean, if a toddler threw up on piece of paper and smeared it around with his hands, that would be a better bill, because it wouldn’t be costing people their health insurance.

He got rid of Comey for cause, in my opinion. The investigation’s going on. It doesn’t go away just because he got rid of Comey. No matter when Trump would have fired him, it would have been, ‘He was trying to stop him from investigating him.’

Well, yeah, but mostly because Trump looked Lester Holt dead in the eye and told him that was the reason. Do these people not have access to the news?

I think the swamp in Washington is bigger and deeper than he thought

Probably because he keeps adding to the swamp?

So people can make their own choice: here’s what Trump’s saying, here’s what the media is saying.

So people can make their own choice: here is what one uneducated and uninformed person is saying, here’s what the facts and data are.

I don’t know how much more is in my paycheck, I don’t watch that that closely. But honest to God, I can see it in the amount of business we’re doing and the amount of business our customers are doing.

This is actual bullshit. You know your check isn’t increased, and that is why you are just saying you can tell everything is great because of the amount of business you and your customers are doing.

Image result for truthiness

 

Tom Viviano, 51
Michigan

TomV is an Independent. I can’t even re-word this biography. I’m just going to direct quote the article: “He hones his conservative-leaning views each morning at breakfast at the Orange Tree Cafe in Sterling Heights, Michigan, where he moderates the battle between his two coffee mates, one a fervent Democrat and the other a conservative Republican.”

Okie doke.

Anyway, TomV stopped responding to Bloomberg back in November, after giving Trump low ratings (7-8.5 out of 10).

My choice was not to vote or vote for him. There was no way I was voting for Hillary. It was never going to happen.

There is no explanation for why, so we can only use our imagination.

What I see happening now is mostly divided and partisan. It’s a lot worse than I thought it was going to be.

The man who refused to vote for Clinton because of her being Clinton, despite not appearing to love Trump, didn’t predict a partisan divide? Hmm, okay.

Apr 19, 2017

After failure to get a vote on health-care bill

It’s much worse now than it was before Trump. The Republicans probably didn’t like the Obama administration and what was going on, but it wasn’t the stonewalling like this. All of the bills being shot down. Everything that he does is wrong.

HAHAHHHAHAHAHAHA. What?! Is this guy delusional? Does he suffer from a memory problem?? TED CRUZ READ GREEN EGGS AND HAM TO FILIBUSTER.

I’m still all in favor of the travel ban. I’m all in favor of the wall. I’m all in favor of changing the health care.

Yeah, TomV definitely sounds like he’s an Independent. Sure.

Ann Peterson, 52
Michigan

Ann has been waiting for Trump to run for POTUS for more than a decade.

I had always been a Trump supporter, and it was like a dream come true. It might sound hokey to you, but it’s truly what it was.

That is a real quote.

The hard part is, with watching the news, is you don’t even know who is telling the truth anymore. So I don’t really watch the news….I follow Michael Savage.

The hard part is, with watching the news, is you don’t even know who is telling the truth anymore. So I don’t really watch the news….I rely on a man who is banned from the UK for being racist, mocks veterans suffering from PTSD, and is a documented antisemite.

May 27, 2017

On Russia probe

I would like to see more solid evidence stated. Otherwise it’s not credible.

Like maybe some indictments?

There’s zero respect. It’s trickled down into all the avenues –- the football players and all that—the whole entire picture has been very disappointing. I’m embarrassed for our country and their behaviors.

Wait. Does Ann think the NFL is taking a knee over Trump? Oh, Ann. We are all embarrassed for our country.\

 He’s not padding anyone’s pocket, like we’ve seen (with others) all these years.

WHAT?! Trump is lining HIS OWN pockets nonstop!!!