When White Supremacy Enables Abuse

Sheridan Aguirre Press Releases

For Immediate Release
Contact: Sheridan Aguirre | sheridan@unitedwedream.org | 202.793.2267

Just last night, House Members passed a resolution to stop Trump from raiding other departments’ funding to build his wall and expand his deportation force. Already, Congress has enabled Trump by approving billions more in funding for DHS in the most recent government budget in an effort to appease Trump and avoid another government shutdown.

But Congress has the opportunity to right their wrong: the Senate must act now by voting to stop Trump’s fake emergency crisis at the border.

Let us be clear: Trump, aided by advisor Stephen Miller, is driving forth a fake emergency based on a nativist and white supremacist belief that immigrants and people of color are inferior and must be rooted out.

But we know the truth — immigrants arriving at our border are seeking safety, dignity and the opportunity to thrive. The construction of a racist wall and the expansion of the deportation force will only mean more pain, more family separation, and more death for communities across the country and those arriving at the border.

A Humanitarian Crisis

In a Washington Post article published this week, Isaac Stanley Becker speaks to the conditions inside of detention camps and reports on the death of a 45-year-old migrant. See an excerpt below:

“A 45-year-old Mexican national detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection died Monday at a medical facility in McAllen, Tex., after twice seeking medical attention, the agency reported…“As of last month, when NBC News published a review of audits and other government reports, at least 22 immigrants had died in American detention centers over the previous two years.

“In the same period, the DHS’s Office of Inspector General issued numerous warnings about improper care at detention centers maintained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which receives migrants once they are processed at border facilities. A report released in December 2017 identified “problems that undermine the protection of detainees’ rights, their humane treatment, and the provision of a safe and healthy environment.” Earlier that year, the oversight office found ICE agents were not always recording and promptly reporting instances in which detainees had been separated because of mental health problems.

“The December deaths of 7-year-old Jakelin Caal and 8-year-old Felipe Gomez Alonzo came amid record-breaking numbers of families seeking entry to the United States. Holding cells filled up as Trump promised an end to a policy he calls “catch and release.”

“Meanwhile, facilities designed for single men proved inadequate for a more diverse population of migrants and asylum seekers, illustrated by a rash of illnesses at the end of last year.”

Lack of Prenatal Care for Detained Pregnant Mothers

In an excerpt from a New York Times article, advocate Erika Andiola comments on the lack of prenatal care for pregnant women in detention after reports surface of a woman who gave birth to a stillborn while detained at Port Isabel Detention Center in Texas:

““There has been more and more public death,” said Erika Andiola, chief of advocacy for the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, or Raices, a nonprofit organization that provides low-cost legal defense services to immigrant and refugee families in Texas.

“She said the treatment of pregnant women had been a particular focus after the Trump administration said it would stop assuming pregnant women should be released, instead detaining them on a case-by-case basis.

“Ms. Andiola said based on interviews with migrants who have recently left detention centers, some pregnant women do not get the care they need at the centers. For example, some were told they would be taken to off-site medical professionals but never were, she said.

“We know those are not the best conditions for pregnant women at all,” Ms. Andiola said. “This is not surprising, really.””

Sexual Abuse Against Minors

Just yesterday, Caitlin Owens, Stef W. Kight and Harry Stevens of Axios broke a story on data provided by Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL) that documents 178 allegations of sexual abuse by adult staff at the Office of Refugee Resettlement, the agency that relocates separated children into foster care facilities. An excerpt below:

“Allegations against staff members reported to the DOJ included everything from rumors of relationships with UACs to showing pornographic videos to minors to forcibly touching minors’ genitals.

By the numbers: From October 2014 to July 2018, the HHS’ [Department of Health and Human Services] Office of Refugee Resettlement received 4,556 complaints, and the Department of Justice received 1,303 complaints. This includes 178 allegations of sexual abuse by adult staff.

What they’re saying: [Congressman Ted] Deutch said these documents were included in HHS’ response to a House Judiciary Committee request for information made in January.

“”This behavior — it’s despicable, it’s disgusting, and this is just the start of questions that HHS is going to have to answer about how they handle these and what’s happening in these facilities,” Deutch told Axios.”

Need a recap on the stories and our Defund Hate report?

  • The Truth About ICE & CBP: A Comprehensive Analysis of the Devastating Human Impact of the Deportation Force By The Immigrant Youth & Families Who Know It Best (Report)

###

United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation, a powerful network made up of over 400,000 members and 48 affiliate organizations across 26 states. UWD’s vision is to build a multi-racial, multi-ethnic movement of young people who organize and advocate at the local and national levels for the dignity and justice of immigrants and communities of color in the United States.