1. There are children stuck in inhumane conditions in detention camps at the border. Maybe you don’t want to hear about it. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.
2. According to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who toured a Border Patrol facility, one of the cells she saw had a non-functional sink. She says a woman there was told to drink out of the toilet instead. Who told her this? A Border Patrol agent, whose salary is paid for by our taxes.
3. A gay man was made to wear a sign saying that he liked men and forced to parade past other prisoners. I’m reminded of the pink triangle, and what its history is. You know who wore those first, right? Maybe you should, because this feels like that.
4. A member of Congress reported that 15 women in their 50s and 60s were crammed into a tiny cell with no running water. They hadn’t had showers in weeks, and they had been separated from their families.
5. There was a private Facebook group with 9,500 members in which current and former Border Patrol agents were members threw around racist language and joked about migrants dying. The leadership of the Border Patrol apparently knew about the Facebook group for years, but did not act until group members’ conduct was exposed.
6. Adults were held in a cell where nobody could sit down for up to a week.
7. According to a report from the office of the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General, a court settlement has mandated that children not be held for more than 72 hours. And yet, 826 of the 2,669 children being held were there longer than that.
8. 165 children at a processing facility in McAllen, TX, were held for over a week. These children had been separated from their families. Of those, 50 were under age seven.
9. Holocaust survivors identify with the migrants being held on the border.
10. A 16-year-old boy died of the flu while in Border Patrol custody. He was not taken to the hospital. He is the fourth Guatemalan minor to die in U.S. custody since December.
11. Members of the private Facebook group that included current and former Border Patrol agents responded to the teen’s death by posting the Elmo “Oh well” gif. Another posted, “If he dies, he dies.”
12. Many prisoners had no access to showers, soap, or shampoo. They were given wet wipes to clean themselves. This situation lasted for many weeks at a time.
13. A father and his daughter drowned in the Rio Grande while trying to make it across the border to the United States. The Facebook group referred to them as “floaters” and suggested the widely-seen photo of the two had been posed because they were too “clean.” Blame for the staging of the photo was pinned on “Dems” and “liberal parties.”
14. When Rep. Ocasio-Cortez brought up some of the behavior issues of Border Patrol agents that she had witnessed, she reports being told that “officers are under stress & act out sometimes.”
15. There was a cell with 25 children in it in a Border Patrol facility in Clint, Texas. They had been separated from their families, and there was an outbreak of lice. Border Patrol agents gave the children lice shampoo and two combs, and told them to share. But when one of the combs was lost, the agents took away the children’s’ sleeping mats and beds as punishment, and all 25 were made to sleep on the concrete.
16. Young children at that facility were being told by Border Patrol agents to “take care of” even younger children, even if they were unable to do so.
17. Children reported that they’d only been able to brush their teeth once, despite being in the facility for days.
18. Access to these camps is strictly controlled, so there’s still a lot we don’t know about conditions for prisoners there.
19. The only “crime” these migrants committed was entering the United States illegally and asking for asylum, because conditions in their home countries were so dangerous. This is a misdemeanor offense. Many migrants feel they have no choice but to try to cross illegally because the Trump administration’s restrictions on asylum requests mean indefinite waits at ports of entry.
20. The president of the United States knows this is happening, is directly responsible for it happening, and does not care.
21. All of this is happening in our name.
22. It’s happening right now.
What are you going to do about it?
Susan Bigelow is an award-winning columnist and the founder of CTLocalPolitics. She lives in Enfield with her wife and their cats.
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