The Young Turks (1/31/19)
Immigrants have gone on hunger strikes over the past month to protest conditions inside detention facilities, prompting officials to force-feed six of them through plastic nasal tubes at a Texas location, The Associated Press has learned.
More detainees are refusing food at the El Paso Processing Center than at any other ICE facility, and lawyers say some detainees are losing weight rapidly after not eating or drinking for more than 30 days. Detainees, a relative and an attorney told the AP that nearly 30 men in the El Paso, Texas ICE detention center, mostly from India and Cuba, have been striking there to protest what they say is rampant verbal abuse and threats of deportation from guards. They are also upset about lengthy lock ups while awaiting legal proceedings.
ICE confirmed Thursday there are 11 detainees in El Paso who are on hunger strikes — which means they have refused nine consecutive meals — and an additional four in the agency’s Miami, Phoenix, San Diego and San Francisco areas of responsibility, according to agency spokeswoman Leticia Zamarripa.”
- ICE Force-Feeding Detainees On Hunger Strike — Immigrants have gone on hunger strikes over the past month to protest conditions inside detention facilities, prompting officials to force-feed six of them through plastic nasal tubes at a Texas location, The Associated Press has learned. More detainees are refusing food at the El Paso Processing Center than at any other ICE facility, and lawyers say some detainees are losing weight rapidly after not eating or drinking for more than 30 days. Detainees, a relative and an attorney told the AP that nearly 30 men in the El Paso, Texas ICE detention center, mostly from India and Cuba, have been striking there to protest what they say is rampant verbal abuse and threats of deportation from guards. They are also upset about lengthy lock ups while awaiting legal proceedings. … Read the Rest
(Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2019. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )
Salvadoran Man Has Evidence He’s Not A Gang Member. US Still Separated Him From His Kids
By Laura C. Morel
Reveal / Center for Investigative Reporting (1/29/19)
In early November, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers accused a Salvadoran father – known in court documents only as “Mr. A” – of being an MS-13 gang member.
They didn’t show him any evidence to back up their claim. Mr. A denied he was ever part of the group and stripped off his clothes to prove he wasn’t hiding any gang-related tattoos.
Still, the officers didn’t believe him. On Nov. 5, officers hauled Mr. A out of a Texas immigration detention facility to court for a hearing. When he returned to his cell that day, his 11-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son were gone.
He hasn’t seen them in the nearly three months since, even though the government hasn’t offered any proof of his gang membership. Mr. A’s lawyers have compiled a stack of evidence to the contrary.
Court records provide a detailed account of his case. In April, gang members began threatening Mr. A and gave him a choice: Pay $1,300 or his children would die.
They’ve submitted a document from El Salvador’s Ministry of Justice and Public Safety confirming that their client doesn’t have a criminal record. A letter from his former employer, an art supply store in San Salvador where Mr. A worked for the past 13 years, describes him as an upstanding colleague and manager.
They’ve also filed a photo that shows Mr. A at the beach with his daughter, to prove he doesn’t have any MS-13 tattoos.
“We’ve asked for information, and we haven’t been given any,” said Laura Peña, a lawyer in Mr. A’s case who works with the Texas Civil Rights Project. “We don’t know what information the government has, so it’s hard for us to counter the allegation.”
More than six months after President Donald Trump announced the end of his administration’s family separation policy, Mr. A’s case highlights the government’s ongoing practice of breaking up families at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Between April and June, officials separated more than 2,700 children from their families under the so-called “zero tolerance” policy. After increasing backlash from lawmakers and the public, Trump ended the practice June 20.
But nearly 120 migrant children were split up from families between the formal end of family separation and early November, according to a recent report by the Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector general’s office. In the majority of these new cases, the report notes, parents are accused of having criminal records or gang affiliations. Allegations in some cases are based on unsubstantiated claims or minor infractions, ProPublica reported in November.
It’s an issue that’s garnered the attention of Lee Gelernt, the lead ACLU attorney in the case that resulted in the reunification of families split up during zero tolerance.
“We have raised this issue with the court and plan to keep doing so,” he said. “We have received information about these types of separations only after pushing hard for information, and the information we have received is usually minimal and inadequate.”
The Department of Homeland Security declined to comment. Lawyers representing the government have not filed records in court supporting its claim against Mr. A.
The Texas Civil Rights Project regularly visits the McAllen immigration court near the border to screen immigrants being prosecuted for illegal entry who may have been separated from their children. They’ve identified a few cases similar to Mr. A’s in which the basis for separation is unclear.
“That’s the big problem with these vague allegations,” said Peña, a former federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement attorney. “You have a Border Patrol agent out in the field who looks up some system and sees a flag. It’s not a criminal conviction. There’s just some sort of information in a system.” …
Trump Admin Complains It’s Too Hard To Reunite Thousands Of Families They Seperated
On Friday [2/1], officials from the Trump administration said it would require too much effort to reunite the thousands of families it separated before implementing its “zero-tolerance” policy in April, according to a declaration filed as part of an ongoing lawsuit between the American Civil Liberties Union and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Last month, the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services released a report stating that “thousands” more immigrant families had been separated than the government had previously disclosed. In the declaration submitted Friday, HHS officials said they don’t know the exact number of children who were taken from their parents before “zero tolerance” and that finding them would be too much of a “burden” since there was no formal tracking system in place.
“The Trump administration’s response is a shocking concession that it can’t easily find thousands of children it ripped from parents and doesn’t even think it’s worth the time to locate each of them,” said Lee Gelernt, the lead lawyer in the ACLU’s ongoing lawsuit against ICE, in a statement. “The administration also doesn’t dispute that separations are ongoing in significant numbers.”
HHS did not respond to HuffPost’s request for comment. …
Watch, If You Can, The Tortured Face Of What America Has Become
Screen shot of hysterical toddler Grethshell during a television ‘visit’ with her mother Sindy, a Honduran immigrant separated from her young daughter by U.S. border police.
“This type of prolonged exposure to serious stress—known as toxic stress—can carry lifelong consequences for children.” – American Academy of Pediatrics