Immigration activists have long been condemning the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agencies as a modern-day Gestapo for their role in putting the Trump administration’s agenda of soft ethnic cleansing and persecution of Hispanic immigrants into action, but it’s only just becoming clear how accurate that comparison is.
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A new report from the American Civil Liberties Union revealed that the Border Patrol has been torturing and sexually abusing tens of thousands of migrant children in their custody, subjecting them to appalling human rights violations with sadistic cruelty.
The report describes a pattern of behavior that ranges from “neglectful” to “sadistic,” reports the Washington Post.
In one case, an agent allegedly pushed his stun gun into a boy’s stomach, shocking him, then kneed him twice in the same spot.
In another, a 16-year-old girl being held just outside Phoenix claimed that an agent “forcibly spread her legs and touched her private parts so hard that she screamed.”
One boy was allegedly forced to strip down to his boxers inside one of the cold detention cells, widely known among undocumented immigrants as “hieleras,” or “freezers.” Another teen who had swam across the Rio Grande claimed he was placed in a frigid cell while still wearing wet clothes.
A 16-year-old girl held in a California detention center with the baby she had brought with her recounted how an agent stood at the cell door and calmly threatened to rape her and then place her child in foster care.
Of course, when these abuses were reported to the Department of Homeland Security, the federal racism factory which manufactures America’s appalling immigration policies, they were “investigated” and promptly dismissed as baseless. The ACLU alleges “a culture of impunity” among the agents in charge of migrant children, an accusation which checks out when you consider that every American law enforcement operates with a culture of impunity when it comes to abusing and killing nonwhite minorities.
“The records show that the leadership at Customs and Border Protection were well aware of the allegations of unlawful child abuse — including people still now directing the agency — yet there is no indication that any individual official was ever held accountable for abuse,” writes ACLU and Border Litigation project staff attorney Mitra Ebadolahi.
Sadly, this isn’t even recent. All these abuses happened under the administration of liberal messiah President Barack Obama, the man who likes to boast about how he has “no scandals” – which is only true in that there were no scandals with victims that American media and society actually care about.
But it is deeply disturbing to know that this is the way that American law enforcement treats their migrant detainees; it makes it clear that American law enforcement at every level is staffed with fascists and white supremacists who take pleasure in humiliating and abusing poor people of color; that the dehumanization of Hispanic migrants began a long time ago, and that Donald Trump’s xenophobia is embraced with full-throated enthusiasm by the jackbooted thugs that work for ICE and BP.
Which makes it even more infuriating when considered in the context of last night’s bombshell report that ICE and the Border Patrol had lost track of nearly 1,500 children last year, some of whom were inadvertently given to human traffickers.
President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have recently begun implementing their no-tolerance policy against undocumented migrants, including punishing families by taking children away from their parents and throwing both into different concentration camps – detention centers for the parents and “foster care or whatever” for the children.
“Or whatever” has now been revealed to mean military warehouses – because what terrified children stolen away from their parents really need is to be surrounded by heavily armed men on a base run by an institution struggling to contain a sexual assault epidemic.
Given the horrifying stories of sexual abuse and torture that come out of adult ICE detention centers, one shudders to imagine what might be inflicted on these children in the hands of these nihilistic racists.
Abolishing ICE and the Border Patrol needs to be a central part of the Democratic Party platform in 2018 – and the persecution of all those involved in these atrocities next on the menu.
But considering the silence of liberals as President Obama vastly expanded ICE’s authority and deported a million people and constructed ICE’s first concentration camps and allowed these kinds of systematic abuses to continue without any kind of oversights or punishment, it’s clear that this is an acceptable state of affairs to the rich and white establishment Democrats.
We, the people, need to raise awareness and rise up to hold our elected officials accountable and to make it clear that the humane treatment of immigrants is a dealbreaker for political support.
While those beset with moral cowardice shy away from “purity tests,” the end to the systematic torture and abuse of migrants should be an uncontroversial issue that all of us can – and must – get behind. To look away is to enable fascism and white supremacy.