ICE Has Held Grampa With Alzheimer's For 9 Months. Don't You Feel Safe?
Another day, another dispatch from the New Cruelty: Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been holding Noé de la Cruz, an old man who has Alzheimer's disease and diabetes (and is in remission from cancer) in a detention center in Texas, pending the outcome of his request for asylum. His family -- his wife and daughter are citizens -- has requested he be released to their care, but nothing doing! ICE doesn't let dangerous old men loose into the community, because what if he disappears and takes some American's job, or tapes a bunch of women's mouths shut and drives them across the border, or starts a caravan and murders all of us in our sleep? We need a wall -- An anti-ALZHEIMER'S wall!
His daughter, Sandra de la Cruz, says she's worried her father, 72, isn't getting any treatment where he's imprisoned, ICE's Port Isabel "Service Processing Center" in Los Fresnos, Texas.
"He's going to get lost, and we don't have family over there who can take care of him," Sandra said. Speaking through tears, Sandra recounted instances where her father called "three, five, ten times a day" from the Port Isabel detention facility near Los Fresnos, Texas, asking the same questions over and over.
"He also says that he's getting into fights, but when we go to see him, he doesn't have bruises," Sandra said. "We think that the fights are happening in his mind."
(Some idiot somewhere: "So he's also violent, you say? Good thing he's in jail!")
De la Cruz's lawyer, Tatiana Obando, who works with the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), says getting him released to his family while his asylum claim is adjudicated just isn't an option as far as ICE is concerned.
They decided that he's not dangerous to himself right now, and that he's not deteriorating, and that's why it's not required for them to release him," said Obando. [...] ICE's alternative, Obando told The Daily Beast, was to put de la Cruz in solitary confinement for his own protection. For a man with dementia, the damage of being completely isolated could be irreversible.
"They could put him in protective custody, meaning segregation," Obando said. "I don't think that putting someone with a mental illness in protective custody is the right way to go about this."
Ad yes, every subsequent paragraph of the story at the Daily Beast does manage to get more enraging. We learn that de la Cruz's only contact with his family has been through a glass partition because of a Catch-22 that would make Capt. John Yossarian's head spin:
"We couldn't go and have a physical interview or visit with him because he is the one who needs to request it, but he doesn't know how; he forgets how to do the request," Sandra said tearfully. "There's no way for us to help him, and that's hard. That's hard."
All he has to do is ask. But first he has to remember he has to ask. And he can't remember how. His caseworker, Major Major, was not available to comment, but as soon as he is available, he won't comment.
We are joking of course. Noé de la Cruz doesn't have a caseworker. Why would we waste money on such a thing?
As usual, ICE was simply bursting with bafflegab when asked about this case:
A spokesperson for ICE, which does not have a specific policy regarding detention for people with diagnosed cognitive decline, defended de la Cruz's detention.
"ICE makes custody determinations on a case-by-case basis, in accordance with U.S. law and Department of Homeland Security policy, considering the merits and factors of each case while adhering to current agency priorities, guidelines and legal mandates," said spokesperson Dani Bennett.
Translation: They've got your pa, and they have a right to do anything you can't stop them from doing.
The story cites Alzheimer's experts who point out that being kept in a detention facility with no particular treatment is almost certain to worsen de la Cruz's condition, and even if he eventually gets asylum, he's unlikely to get back whatever function he loses while incarcerated.
But wait! Isn't it vitally important to acknowledge that this mentally deteriorating old man is also one of the very BAD HOMBRES Donald Trump promised to protect us from? As the Daily Beast admits, in 2015, shortly after he was diagnosed with dementia, de la Cruz also caught a charge for possession of controlled substances and was given eight years' probation. (The story doesn't go into any further detail, so let's just assume he was driving fentanyl across the border and handing it out on playgrounds. Bet that had to be it.) But instead of emphasizing he's not Mexico's best -- he's bringing drugs, he's bringing crime, or at least finding them here -- the Daily Beast makes a bunch of crazy excuses based on egghead "researchers" who don't love America:
Researchers have documented potential links between dementia onset and antisocial, even low-grade criminal, behavior, and have pushed for the criminal justice system to factor in such diagnoses into charging and sentencing.
For an undocumented immigrant, even one with longstanding community ties and almost no criminal record, any drug charge, no matter the mitigating circumstances, can mean deportation.
Obando said de la Cruz's probation is the reason that, when he was caught crossing back into the US in 2018, he was subject to mandatory detention at Port Isabel. Well, tough, then, the law is the law, and so why is anyone making a fuss about this dangerous drug criminal who hates America and doesn't respect the law? Once he was arrested and detained, Obando cited conditions in Mexico in de la Cruz's petition for asylum: He has only two sisters, aged 83 and 93, in Mexico, and if he's deported, he's likely to be a crime victim, and at the very least will not get adequate care. His daughter says he can best be cared for here:
"They cannot take care of him," Sandra said. "I understand we have to follow the rules, that's why we have laws. But sometimes, it's a different situation. He's not a dangerous person, he's just not in a well condition."
Tough luck, lady. This is America, and we're busy becoming great again. Sure, maybe your father can't remember his grandchildren's names, or even who they are, but he isn't anyone Donald Trump would ever care about, so tough. We just keep winning more and more.
RAICES, meantime, is calling on people to contact the Port Isabel facility to ask for justice for Noé de la Cruz, and to sign an online petition calling for his release to his family, possibly because they are part of Sane America.
Wouldn't be a bad idea for the family to start making noise at Felemon Vela, the Democratic US congressman for the district that includes the detention facility, either, and maybe you could call your own representatives and senators on this as well. This is insane. Maybe send a few extra bucks to RAICES, if you can spare 'em.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.