While the media and the public’s attention span has long since moved on from the astonishing cruelty that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency inflicts on innocent migrants, that doesn’t mean the horrors have abated in the slightest.
The latest outrage committed by President Trump’s deportation thugs involves yet another case of a baby being separated from its mother. ICE shamelessly bragged on October 8th that they had “rescued” a migrant Honduran woman who had just given birth all by herself near Eagle Pass in New Mexico and rendered “critical care” to her.
! We just learned that after the Border Patrol “assisted” this woman, they took her to the hospital where her baby went into the NICU.
Then, hours after she gave birth, the Border Patrol threw her in a jail cell and are threatening to send her to Mexico without her baby—tonight! https://t.co/3NRpXU5hB9
— Aaron Reichlin-Melnick (@ReichlinMelnick) October 10, 2020
What they didn’t mention was that hours after the birth, they threw the mother in a jail cell and tried to deport her without her child. “They told her she was going to be sent back to Mexico without her baby,” said the mother’s lawyer, Amy Maldonado.
The baby was airlifted to San Antonio, a city several hours away from where the mother was being held — a transparent attempt to make it difficult for the mother to be reunited with her baby, who we should remind you is just hours old. While ICE claimed they had to separate mother from child in accordance with the hospital’s neonatal COVID-19 policy, the LA Times reports the hospital immediately disputed that.
“That is definitely not the hospital policy. We do not separate babies and parents,” said hospital spokesperson Leni Kirkman.
The mother had already been apprehended by ICE before and was sent to Mexico under the Trump administration’s now-suspended “Remain in Mexico” program. Her hearing is not until May 5th, meaning she would have had to live in a country where she has no family, no connections, and no money for nearly a year. Unwilling to do so, she braved the crossing herself in an effort to be reunited with her other child, who is with a cousin in Sacramento.
The Border Patrol has since agreed to release the pair after intervention by a local NGO group.
In a disturbing echo of the Nazis increasing the killings in the concentration camps as the Allies approached, the Trump administration is desperately trying to speed up its efforts to deport as many migrants as they can as the election approaches and Donald Trump’s political fortunes dwindle.
Of all the many, many, many crimes of the Trump administration, the systematic abuse and sadistic cruelty that ICE has inflicted on some of the world’s most vulnerable people ranks at the highest. But unfortunately, it’s very difficult to get Americans to care about it for more than a few days at a time, especially since there is a bipartisan consensus that deportation and detention are acceptable solutions to the migrant crisis.
Just like we refuse to think about how our endless wars overseas kill thousands of innocent people every year, so do we refuse to think about the human cost of putting innocent people in for-profit detention centers to be abused and then returning them to the unstable and dangerous nations they fled from in the first place.
It is our moral imperative that we not only make sure that we vote Trump out of office and put an end to the gleeful sadism with which they approach immigration policy but also that we hold the Biden administration accountable.
We must demand an end to the use of the concentration camps that the Obama-Biden administration built, an end to throwing immigrants in iceboxes to freeze (which also began under Obama-Biden), an end to the rampant sexual abuse of migrants and their children in ICE custody (which was also a serious problem under Obama-Biden), an end to the forced labor of detained migrants for slave wages (which also began under Obama-Biden), and an end to the deportation of millions of people who simply want their chance to live the American Dream.
Please consider supporting the fund. Thank you!
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.