Here’s Your ICE Horror Show Roundup, Also, God Damn America
As the New Cruelty ramps up its family separation policy, there's a whole lot of ICE fuckery to catch up on. And yes, it's almost all awful, although it's also worth noting that the worse it gets, the more resistance there is – not just from activists, but in the institutions that hold out some hope of putting the brakes on this madness. We have a bit of both in today's roundup!
Yes, We Actually Are The Baddies.
Let's start with this story from the Boston Globe, by Liz Goodman,which can almost be summed up in three tweets by Goodman, but please please read the whole thing. Like last week's NYT profile of "José," this piece uses the stories of an immigrant child separated from his family to illustrate how the New Cruelty works:
A six year old boy from Honduras remembers watching his dad be led away from him in handcuffs, the last time he saw him. His eight year old foster sibling remembers his mom crying and yelling as they were separated https://t.co/y2YXMhYMt7
— Liz Goodwin (@lizcgoodwin) June 10, 2018
But the paragraph that has justly been getting the most attention is this one:
A public defender in McAllen says some migrants are told their kids are going to be taken away briefly to bathe, and then it dawns on them hours later they aren't coming back
— Liz Goodwin (@lizcgoodwin) June 10, 2018
Yes, that parallel to some other people who were told they'd just be getting a shower is inescapable. We almost hope the ICE officers taking the children away have no idea what their convenient lies remind people of. It's far more chilling to think they know exactly what they're doing.
There's much more horrible stuff, of course: Goodwin offers several snapshots of the improvised, slapdash way family separation is being rolled out, much like the first weekend of the Travel Ban, when the order to deny entry to anyone from seven countries came down while people with valid visas were still in the air. The broad rules have changed, but the functionaries are making things up as they go along. In one case, immigrant parents in McAllen, Texas, got this runaround after their kids were taken:
Parents have been given a flyer with the wrong number to call the government to find out where their kids are. Last week, the number was corrected on a scrawled, hand-written note
— Liz Goodwin (@lizcgoodwin) June 10, 2018
Oh, and no, the parents didn't necessarily have access to phones, because what kind of luxury resort do you think ICE is running?
It's all a mess. And the people in charge of the mess are a mixture of monsters from ICE and people outside the agency who are trying to make sense of all this. Some are federal judges who can't believe what's happening either. Others are foster parents and child assistance agencies who want to help children but are dismayed to learn they've been enlisted by the New Cruelty: They'd signed up to assist unaccompanied minors, mostly teens, but they're now taking care of very small children who are terrified, and whose parents they may or may not be able to reach.
Bad Hombres. Oh, And Some Asylum Seekers, Too
WaPo brings us this story of a delegation of Washington state officials, including Gov. Jay Inslee and US Rep. Pramila Jayapal, who paid a visit to immigrants transferred from ICE detention to the federal prison in SeaTac, Washington, near the international airport of that name.
You see, ICE's adult detention facilities on the border are filling up so fast thanks to Trump's "zero tolerance" policy that, to make room, some 1,600 migrants in ICE detention have been sent to federal prisons. They must be the very worst of the "bad hombres" to get treated like that, huh?
Or not: Of the 206 migrants recently transferred to the prison at SeaTac, Jayapal told WaPo, most were women – 174 of them. But maybe they were ALL in MS-13, and were intent on criming in America the way those people all do?
Most of them were from Cuba, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, she said, but there were also people from as far away as Eritrea. Many spoke of fleeing threats of rape, gang violence and political persecution, Jayapal said.
The women were in three separate concrete pods when she visited, and Jayapal said she and an interpreter first asked them to respond to questions by raising their hands. She asked how many were mothers who had been forcibly separated from their children: More than half of the women raised their hands. Some said that their children had been as young as 12 months — and many no longer knew where their children were being held.
But at least all these migrants are being treated humanely, right? Donald Trump was very big on how much he understood the plight of migrants, and how we'd deport everyone very compassionately, remember? We bet Rep. Jayapal came away impressed by how professionally the brave personnel of ICE have been behaving, yes?
Jayapal said detainees relayed disturbing accounts of being held at Border Patrol facilities in "inhumane fenced cages" (referred to as the "dog pound") or in the "ice box," so nicknamed for the facilities' cold temperatures and lack of blankets or sleeping mats. She also said many women spoke of being deprived of clean water and experiencing verbal abuse while in Border Patrol custody.
"Just the abuse that they endured, being called filthy and stinky and being mocked for crying," Jayapal told The Post. "One woman said 'I want to be with my children' and the Border Patrol agent said: 'You will never see your children again. Families don't exist here. You won't have a family anymore.' "
Oh dear. Looks like we're the Baddies again. If it helps any, a Department of Homeland Security spokesperson explained -- pointing to a WaPo story, because all government agencies are committed to trolling now -- the detention centers use chain link fencing, not "cages," so everything is JUST FINE, please enjoy your coffee as the room burns down around you.
Dear Christ, What Else?
Oh, dear. There's so much more, but now we're down to brief blurbs for you.
- There's Manuel Antonio Cano Pacheco, who was brought to the USA by his parents when he was 3. He had been protected by DACA, but after his father was sent to prison, he made some bad decisions, got a DUI, lost his DACA protection, and was deported to Mexico. He was murdered by a gang just days later, and now instead of having a high school graduate in their home, his family held a funeral for him last week.
- Ronal Francisco Romero was arrested crossing the border on May 9. After being held at a Customs and Border Patrol detention center for six days, CBP turned him over to ICE. Oh, but while in CBP detention, he'd contracted viral meningitis. ICE got him to a hospital, but he died less than a day later. His mother is suing the government, so you can't say immigrants don't have due process, now can you?
- In May, Marco Antonio Muñoz, 39, a Hondouran man seeking asylum for himself, his wife, and his three-year-old son, was arrested by the Border Patrol. When he was separated from his family, Muñoz suffered a mental breakdown, became violent, and was placed in a padded cell, where he was found dead, a suicide by hanging. The Texas Tribune spoke to an unnamed CBP agent who simply couldn't make sense of why Muñoz "would choose to separate himself from his family forever" like that. We're getting the feeling these guys are really bad at irony.
Not every immigration story is pure hell, though: You may have heard about Pablo Villavicencio, the delivery guy who was arrested after he delivered a pizza to Ft. Hamilton Army base in Brooklyn, New York. Someone at the base took his ID, ran a background check, and called ICE on the guy. A judge has issued a stay of deportation for Villavicencio, whose volunteer attorneys argue the arrest was illegal from the get-go. Not only has New York's congressional delegation gotten called for an investigation and clemency, a bunch of restaurants in Brooklyn have launched a boycott on deliveries to the base. Solidarity, Brooklyn!
Update/Correction: Oops. We originally misidentified the Army base in this post. That's Ft. Hamilton, not "Ft. Cohen." See, there was a guy in one of the sources named Cohen, and we were really in a hurry, and ... Must have been the new server! Wonkette regrets the error.
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