Pediatricians Confirm Gov’t-Sanctioned Child Abuse At The Border

The Trump administration has failed in its attempt to keep concealed its dirty little secret about concentration camps on the Southern border where prisoners are held in horrific conditions without being charged for crimes.

The Trump administration has detained more than 40,000 children so far this year, a 57- percent increase from last year.

At this rate, we will surpass 2016’s record figures of 59,171.

Every day more horrific details come out about this stain on the “land of the free.”

And here are some more that broke this week.

Dr. Colleen Kraft, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, described on CNN what she witnessed when touring one of the camps:

“I can’t describe to you the room I was in with the toddlers. Normally toddlers are rambunctious and running around. We had one child just screaming and crying, and the others were really silent. And this is not normal activity or brain development with these children.”

Dr. Kraft talked about the “toxic stress” responsible for the harm to these children’s brains, adding:

“It disrupts their brain architecture and keeps them from developing language and social, emotional bonds, and gross motor skills, and the development that they could possibly have.”

Kraft asserted what the Trump administration is perpetrating upon these children is tantamount to “government-sanctioned child abuse.”

But Dr. Kraft wasn’t the only pediatrician to speak out.

Dr. Dolly Lucio Sevier discovered similar examples of infection, malnutrition, and psychological trauma at a Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) facility in McAllen, Texas where over 1,000 children are being imprisoned.

Despite examining one child at a time, Dr. Sevier was not permitted to enter the area where the children were held, many in cages.

When Sevier asked the 38 children she examined about sanitation, all replied they were not permitted to wash their hands or brush their teeth.

The Office of the Inspector General released images showing asylum seekers–many women and children–stuffed into overcrowded cages, lying on cement floors.

One cage has stuffed into it 88 men in a space for 41.

One of the photos clearly shows a man in one of these cells holding a sign reading, “HELP. 40 DAY HERE.”

Image credit: https://twitter.com/GadiNBC/status/1146111881565933569

NBC News reported:

“The investigators for the DHS Office of the Inspector General toured five Border Patrol facilities and two ports of entry in the Rio Grande Valley sector during the week of June 10 and published their report as a ‘management alert‘ to the department on Tuesday.

“The Rio Grande Valley of Texas has the highest volume of immigrants along the United States-Mexico border. At the time of the visits by investigators, Border Patrol was holding 8,000 detainees in custody, with 3,400 being held longer than the 72-hour limit.

“The report also detailed what it called ‘security incidents’ in which immigrants have tried to escape and once refused to return to their cells after being removed during maintenance. To address the problem, Border Patrol called in its special operations force to demonstrate it was prepared to use force if necessary.”

ProPublica discovered a secret Facebook group in which Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers posted racist, misogynistic, and violent content about asylum seekers and Democratic members of Congress, like New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, about whom was posted a fake photo of her engaged in oral sex at a detention center.

Some comments about prisoners spoke of throwing a “burrito at these bitches,” “Fuck the hoes,” and “There should be no photo ops for these scum buckets.”

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez tweeted:

Image credit: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jul/01/aoc-border-facility-horrifying-cbp-officers-tweets

Records reveal during the run-up to planned then canceled mass Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids at the end of last month, US immigration officials shared cheerful messages about potential arrests, such “Happy hunting!” “Operation Super Epic Mega,” calling the work “fun.”

Donald Trump keeps pushing the narrative the seemingly strong economy is all due to him, not at all to his predecessor, Barack Obama.

However, when confronted about the human rights violations his administration is perpetrating against men, women, and children attempting to access the legal asylum seeker process, he blames Obama.

If he acknowledges it’s so horrible he wants Obama to take the fall for it, why doesn’t he do something to fix it?

The answer, of course, is that Obama did not treat asylum seekers in this manner.

The process is supposed to allow those who enter our country at border crossings for the expressed purpose of claiming asylum to be screened and interviewed to ascertain the exigency requiring asylum.

If asylum seekers can convince immigration judges their situations are dire enough that returning them to their native countries would result in harm and/or death, they are given a court appearance date.

Contrary to what Acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kevin McAleenan testified on Capitol Hill last month about data proving 90 percent of all recent asylum seekers fail to show up for their court-ordered immigration hearings, Justice Department (DOJ) data from the past five years reveals around 60 to 75 percent of non-detained asylum seekers attend their immigration proceedings.

What is occurring is an admitted cruel deterrent so people think twice about trying to come here.

In March 2017, Reuters reported:

“Part of the reason for the proposal is to deter mothers from migrating to the United States with their children.”

And, no, Obama didn’t do it too.

According to Peter Margulies, immigration law and national security law professor at Roger Williams University School of Law, under Obama, families were detained together, sent back immediately or paroled into the country.

Then Trump came to town.

Margulies explained:

“The policy has ramped up substantially with the new administration. Making that a staple of immigration policy is a new feature.”

So if it wasn’t the previous administration’s policy, and it clearly isn’t working, why is the Trump administration so intransigent about it?

Follow the money.

The facilities in which asylum seekers are being held are government-contracted but privately run.

Former Trump Chief of Staff, John Kelly, announced in May he would be joining the board of Caliburn International, the company that owns Comprehensive Health Services Inc., responsible for operating a massive migrant prison facility in Homestead, Fla., the nation’s largest.

Sludge review of contract data found since Donald Trump became president, the federal government spent nearly $3.8 billion on ongoing grants and contracts related to “unaccompanied alien children” (UAC).

The majority of these grants originated from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), responsible for the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which manages the UAC program.

Much of the money went toward nonprofit shelter organizations like the Texas-based Southwest Key Programs ($1.5 billion) and the New York-based Cayuga Home for Children ($114 million).

Some HHS and ICE contracts applied to for-profit businesses like the security firm MVM ($213 million) and Comprehensive Health Services ($292 million) for transportation, health care, tent construction, and other services.

Click here for a list of who is profiting from CBP is your state.

If you feel helpless about the path this country is on, something you can do is contact your member of Congress and your senators.

It won’t solve the problem overnight, but if enough of us rise up and demand change, evidence proves change is bound to come.

Last week, thousands showed up to publicly protest the migrant camps.

If we ignore it, however, assuming we’re much too moral to allow this travesty to continue and our lawmakers will just do the right thing, it will continue, and we stand guilty of emboldening the oppressors instead of standing up for the oppressed.

Image credit: www.pressenza.com

Ted Millar is writer and teacher. His work has been in featured in myriad literary journals, including Better Than Starbucks, The Broke Bohemian, Straight Forward Poetry, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices Project. He is also a contributor to Op-Ed News, Liberal Nation Rising, and Zoedune.