I hope I never have enough snark in me to snark at this:
A 7-year-old girl from Guatemala died of dehydration and shock after she was taken into Border Patrol custody last week for crossing from Mexico into the United States illegally with her father and a large group of migrants along a remote span of New Mexico desert, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Thursday.
This child was in CBP custody for more than eight hours before she started seizing. When someone finally checked her out, they found that
she “reportedly had not eaten or consumed water for several days.”…
…An initial diagnosis by physicians at El Paso’s Providence Hospital listed the cause of death as septic shock, fever and dehydration, CBP said.
The quoted official response centers on a lie:
“Border Patrol agents took every possible step to save the child’s life under the most trying of circumstances…”
If they had done so, of course, she and all the refugees in her group would have received water in less than one third of a day.
The warehousing and brutalization of refugees is being done in our name, by people and an infrastructure at the border that is at best ill-equipped and insufficient for the task, and at worse, deliberately engaged in a campaign of exemplary mistreatment designed to décourager les autres.
So children die. In the care and under the “protection” of the US government; our government. As a result of a policy that uses neglect as a tool of border enforcement.
This policy, this explicit choice is Donald Trump’s. But it is far from his alone. The GOP controls Congress. It could have chosen not to be party to the misery and sorrows unto death. It did not.
Every Republican in national office is complicit. All of them share in this tragedy, and the others we’ve heard about and the (likely) many more we haven’t. The moral stain on America as a whole ain’t fading anytime soon, and the reckoning won’t even be able to begin until the GOP as it is now constituted goes the way of the Confederate States of America.
Last thought: I note we are in the midst of the holiday season, the culmination of which, as conservatives hasten to remind us, is the day on which Christians remember the birth of the Prince of Peace. What Babies Would Jesus Starve?
Image: Albrecht Dürer, Christ as the Man of Sorrows, c. 1493.
Adam L Silverman
The real question is which babies would Jesus’s most obnoxiously publicly devout followers in the US starve?
If the girl was in such bad shape that she started seizing eight hours after she was put into custody, her distress almost certainly would have been obvious when she was picked up. This is a terrible, despicable failure on every level. Not that anyone in the White House cares.
I think it’s worse than that. Most of the current staff, other than housekeeping/SS probably think it’s a good idea. They like this outcome.
@Adam L Silverman:
Any and all of them. If they’re brown.
EDIT: And a fair number of white ones, too, in the right circumstances.
Will the departing CoS, ex-DHS secretary and retd. Marine Gen Kelly whose idea this was pay for this? Or is he still the adult in the room according to the media toadies?
I just don’t understand how a child can be in custody for 8 hours and not even be given a drink of water?
I want to write more but that is all I can come up with.
Don’t even try to look at Twitter about this. You will lose any shred of faith in humanity you once had.
Thank you for posting this. How do we sleep at night, knowing our government is so cavalier about the lives of asylum seekers?
Mengele. The US now is the country that employs Mengeles.
As if I needed more proof that there either is no God, or there is and He’s a malign thug.
exactly. this isn’t merely indifference.
Adam L Silverman
@CaseyL: Benign neglect. Imagine how much worse things would be if a vengeful Deity was both paying attention and taking an active role in events.
It truly is the only explanation. I don’t understand that kind of depraved indifference any better than you do, but the Border Patrol and ICE has been deliberately hiring people who they know will mistreat refugees and illegal border crossers. They’re putting known child molesters in charge of child detention centers and they DON’T CARE when people find out. Because a majority of (white) Americans are assholes who enjoy watching desperate people be mistreated.
Sorry, I made the mistake of looking at a few of the Twitter replies to that story and now I just want to fucking burn shit down.
??? Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) ??
Fuck that piece of shit.
Pretty much useless guy.
smedley the uncertain
S. Miller is exultant.
Adam L Silverman
No good can come of this!
@Mnemosyne: Yes. Agree. Where do we start?
??? Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) ??
Didn’t read them, but I can imagine. I’ve read the Twitter replies to these types of tweets and the worst always try minimize and dispute the details of the stories. The self-righteous and matter-of-fact callousness of these Twitter users is what pisses me off. If I had Twitter, I’d be strongly tempted to tell them they deserve to get the shit beat out of them.
I broke down in tears tonight when I tried to imagine what this child’s father must be going through. He sacrificed everything for his daughter to have a better life, and the sacrifice cost her her life because the US is now ruled by venal, heartless, corrupt, and brutal thugs. What was done to this girl is a crime. I’m so ashamed.
@Platonailedit: I dunno, and I’m probably giving a serious response to snark, given that he was from what I heard a refugee baby, I’d like to hear more about Jesus’ take on this atrocity. Nuns on the Bus maybe?
That is all that needs to be said.
They are Evil azz muthaphuckas???
@Ruckus: I wouldn’t go that far, but I think the prevailing feeling there would be that it is that it is the parent’s fault for bringing her to the border.
It is a tragedy, and anyone who can’t acknowledge that is wacked.
@Adam L Silverman:
Who is this?
These fuckers obviously don’t remember the Holy Family’s stint as refugees in Egypt. They’d probably let Jesus starve for the crimes of being brown and undocumented.
@Adam L Silverman: I can’t tell the players without a scorecard.
Adam L Silverman
@rikyrah: Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL CD01).
@Adam L Silverman:
no good can come of this
1. Gaetz accepts COS nomination
2. Is inevitably destroyed personally and politically in less than 180 days <= this is the good part
3. Meanwhile, another FL special election. It's an R+34 district, so almost certainly an R winner.
4. Whoever replaces Gaetz in FL 1st district is likely to be less stupid and vile, because of the zero lower bounds on intelligence and integrity.
That’s exactly what the fuckwads on Twitter are saying. Problem is, once the CPB takes someone into custody, CPB then becomes legally responsible for their safety and well-being. Not giving people water for 8 hours and waiting to call in medical assistance is the kind of shit that prisons get sued for.
Of course, since these detainees are in legal limbo because immigration violations are civil offenses, the CBP employees who stood by while that child died a slow and painful death will most likely face no penalty at all.
I may be done interneting for the night. If I see one more asshole on Twitter blaming the child’s parents, I will fucking lose it.
J R in WV
If Jesus has returned on the southern border, he has already been killed yet again. Not that I’m a believer in all that mythology, which is kind of painful this time of year, but there it is.
The so called Christian movement is mostly evil, murderous monsters at the top, and shiftless uncaring bastards below that. Then there are the women, kept captive or willing dupes. Look at the “Holy Catholic Church” and their pedophile leadership just for one tiny example.
Adam L Silverman
@rikyrah: @Tom Levenson: One of the youngest and douchiest members of Congress, most obnoxious of the President’s supporters, and, perhaps, actually the dumbest member of the Freedom Caucus:
Adam L Silverman
@Mnemosyne: The ACLU and RAICES will bring suit.
@Luthe: I often consider how Jesus would be welcomed, if he came back as a child today, in our country. Maybe born in a truck stop, in the middle of Oklahoma, of a migrant family, just trying to live from day to day. We would fail that test, big time.
Mike in NC
Border Patrol is Fat Bastard’s Waffen SS.
@J R in WV:
The Catholic Church is still better on refugees than all of these asshole “prosperity gospel” Protestants, though. This Jesuit wrote an essay last year that still applies:
@Adam L Silverman:
Those lawsuits aren’t not going to do anything to stop CBP or ICE, unfortunately, because the current Justice Department encourages them to endanger immigrants and will ignore any court order.
@Adam L Silverman: Jeez. The only person in Congress dumber than Louis Gohmert, so naturally he caught Trump’s attention.
Gaetz makes Eric Trump seem like Einstein. Definitely the Right Stuff for the Trump Administration.
Some punidts, and commenters at this here very blog, have long maintained that Trump should never be mentioned separate from GOP, and GOP should never be mentioned separate from Trump. Certainly should be true from now on after the miserable display the GOP has put on over the last two weeks.
From shouts of ‘Drain the Swamp!’ and puffing up everything Democrats do into dire threats to national existence, we go to:
Aww hell, everyone breaks campaign finance laws,
Just ‘process crimes’,
Shame what the dirty feds did to Al Capone, can’t let them do it to Trump,
I don’t care,
And heck, so many countries have bought out Trump, hard to keep track, and countries interfere with each other’s domestic politics all the time. get savvy, OK?
We don’t need to be picky on exact punctuation: TrumpGOP, GOPTrujmp, Trump/GOP, Trump-GOP, Trump-GOP Complex. are all OK.
Maybe this will bring half a smile, need it more and more every damn day.
Wu Tang Clan does Tiny Desk Concert
I took a group of 18 teenagers down to the AZ/Mexico border back in 2002; it was an education mission, the kind of thing liberals do with young people. We were hosted by some presbyterians on the Mexico side who had made it their life’s work to be a point of sanity & safety. (Way Jesusy for my taste, but I ignored that part.) They’d been working on both sides of the border for just a few years at that time, forming careful relationships with local Mexicans and Americans, with churches in both communities, and with the patrol itself.
We spent a week there. We met with the border patrol and saw the cages where people were kept briefly after being caught trying to cross and before being sent back. We met with a guy who lived near where a lot of people tried to cross; he showed us how he put out jugs of water because it was so common for would-be border-crossers to get dehydrated and lost … at that time in his area a person was dying out there every week.
We had dinner with a family from Guatemala who had made it all the way up to border and were planning to cross, tho’ they wouldn’t tell us how. They explained that they were going to find relatives in Tennessee. “Where in Tennessee?” They just shrugged, because that was all they knew. (I watched my hipster Seattle teenagers take this in, frowning.)
And we walked for half a day in the same desert that migrants used commonly, finding many dropped or lost bits of lives. Shoes. Hats. Empty water bottles. Bibles. Wallets. Letters.
I used to tell people about the whole experience this way: The story of the Samaritan goes like, there was a guy beat up and bleeding on the side of the road. Some people passed and ignored him, because they didn’t like Samaritans and didn’t care, or because they didn’t want to get involved, or because they were just busy. One guy stopped to help him — paid for his doctor and for him to have a place to stay. The people we met in Mexico didn’t do either of those things. They decided instead to build themselves house right in the spot where the guy got beat up — and then to invite everybody in.
It’s the liberal hope, right? We can get along if we’re patient and kind and more patient.
In this story today, the USA is the person who walked up to the injured Samaritan and kicked him in the face. I couldn’t be more ashamed.
@Adam L Silverman: Yup. They’re already suing them over the policy. RAICESTexas from December 7:
As others have said above, this is a deliberate policy that is intended to cause as much suffering as possible. Deaths of children are an obvious, intentional, result.
It’s monstrous. :-(
J R in WV
Thanks for this post. As much as it hurts, we really really need to know about this kind of criminal behavior committed on our behalf. Personally, I would convict these folks of murder, or voluntary manslaughter at least.
Depending upon the jury charge, of course. Judges can influence jury deliberations by how they charge the jury.
The Christmas story includes the Massacre of the Innocents. Children were killed so Herod could preserve his power. 2000 years later and children are still killed so those in charge can preserve their power. My heart breaks.
It’s 23 months into individual 1’s absolutely disgusting, horrendously fucked up maladministration and they and the rest of the republican party are doing jack shit about any of it. Except cheering. They are, if nothing else, guilty by the sin of having their heads up their asses. But mainly they are complicit in this shit.
Don’t tell me they don’t like this. Not if you think you have a shred of dignity left. Because no republican has any if they are not calling for this to stop. And there isn’t one of them doing that. These are totally amoral assholes, the republican party, the people that do whatever it is that they think is work and the people who voted for it. There was no doubt what individual 1 stood for on that Nov day in 2016, and he’s proven to be worse than my worst expectations and I have thought he’s been all asshole for decades.
I’m thinking this would be a valuable topic for hearings in the new House, starting maybe on January 4. I’m planning on suggesting it in a call to my Rep’s office in the morning. Maybe others might want to do the same.
It even could be expanded to cover how all children are being treated by ICE, what procedures are in place to make sure there’s prompt medical treatment for children, and the like. I bet there are some doctors who’d testify.
scott (the other one)
If someday sanity prevails again, and we have control of at least the White House, can anything be done to find out who was directly involved in the negligent treatment of this poor child which led to her death, and put them on trial?
Jim, Foolish Literalist
I think of myself as a recovering catholic, and I have some uncharitable thoughts about the RCC as a whole, but there are individuals within the larger organization who look beyond ‘every sperm is sacred’
@Mnemosyne: Don’t follow them.
Adam L Silverman
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: Father Martin is good people!
i grew up catholic but don’t practice. but i’m praying jesus comes back as one of these refugees and smites all of these motherfuckers. and they have the f-ing nerve to preach that they are more religious and moral than the rest of us. fuckers. these poor people and this poor girl. :o(
Jim, Foolish Literalist
a bit more from Matthew 25, about goats on the left
your curse upon you… eternal fire… eternal punishment. Rather unambiguous.
TS (the original)
Imagine if this happened under president Obama – the head of CBP would be fired and the President would be impeached
Under trump the GOP says – meh! – they well forget the words of their so called Savior.
Can only hope Matthew 25:40 is the truth, and imagine the day when every one of these monsters is told that and then pitchforked into the hottest of hells forever.
Don’t know why the thirst for vengeance is so intense, but it is.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
Cool, we’re in synch.
the Massacre of the Innocents
which inspired this Christmas carol, one of my favorites because it adds some depth and emotional complexity to the story :
Because republican’s search for cruelty towards others is their overwhelming policy concept. Pain/death for everyone but them is their main goal.
I don’t really follow anyone on Twitter — I click on tweets when they get embedded by other people and these assholes appear in the replies like sewer rats. ?
@Mnemosyne: Never read the replies.
There will be a reckoning.
My guess is they didn’t care because she was brownish, spoke Spanish and wasn’t a fetus. I hope Kirstijen Neilsijen squirms in her seat for hours the next time she has to make an appearance in front of a congressional committee.
James E Powell
If the Democrats were like the Republicans, this dead child would all that any of them talk about from now till the end of business next Friday. They would pay for and attend the child’s funeral. They would all give press conferences in their districts and ask “How many children have to die before Trump and the Republicans stop the brutality?” No matter what question they were asked, they’d answer with reference to the dead child. They’d be totally shameless about it. They’d refuse to talk about anything else. Etc, etc, etc.
A 7-year old girl is funny, sociable, happy, engaging, playful, clever, smart, cute, loves her parents, loves her friends, sings unselfish-consciously, maybe missing a tooth or two, loves Disney princesses and wants all the puppies. All of them.
How could anybody kill a 7-year old girl? How?
@joel hanes: I agree, and this was a beautiful rendition. Thank you for the link
Would it be better if she just spontaneously combusted?
That would possibly change my mind about the existence of any god.
Republican voters like a tough foreign policy. No holds barred war. Bomb them all. Take immigrant children from their parents. What all of those old white voters don’t understand is that Republican establishment would be just as ruthless to them if they could profit from it. They would take away Medicare and Social Security and, if was profitable, they would let them starve, or bomb gated communities in Arizona. “It’s a big club, and you and I ain’t in it”. Republican voters think because they share a skin color they are in the club, but they don’t check for skin color at the entrance, they check the bank account.
The CBP has been like this my whole life. I worked at San Onofre State Beach while I was in college in the 1970s and it’s right next to what was at the time the main checkpoint between San Diego and LA. One of the rangers found a group of 20-30 people hiding in a culvert, detained them all by saying “come with me,” and had them sit by the side of the road, while he called it in. It took forever for them to bring a bus and the lead officer came by and told us to “cool our jets, they’re just little brown animals” when we kept calling. Only cop I’ve ever called a pig.
They’ve been pouring out water left in the desert for years. They were terrible under Obama. Trump has just let them be jackbooted thugs out in the open.
Nothing prevented them from giving her water when they took her into custody at 10 pm, except the cruelty of each individual and the institutional cruelty of ICE and our govt. They believe they’ll get away with this. How do we hold them accountable for these deaths?
@Mary G: You’re right. Tens of thousands of people have died.
@joel hanes: I can’t believe you linked this … my parents (who weren’t Christian) played it every Christmas Eve, exactly this one. (Followed by the other R Shaw carols.)
@trollhattan: Your writing reminded me of the children killed in the Sandy Hook shooting. Many of them were that age. The girls, the boys, what they loved to do, how they played. The pictures and videos of the children posted by their families and friends.
Héctor Tobar in the NYer
@Aleta: I hadn’t thought about Cohen in such stark terms as a fascist enabler. I’m also the daughter of Holocaust survivors and I’d say my fear of the rising tide of fascism began with Palin, but the absolute catastrophe came in 2016, which felt to me like 1933 all over again. Child deportation, detentions, and refusal to allow asylum seekers all strike close to home. It was only because the US allowed children who survived the Holocaust to immigrate in 1948 that my father is here. The death of asylum seekers in make-shift camps strikes an even deeper nerve in me. This is pure evil.
A sign I’ve carried in marches is “Stealing children and locking them in cages are crimes against humanity.” And this story continues the trend. I hope, at some point, we are rendering people in positions of authority to international courts to stand trial.
But, separately, how have I never before seen facepalm Jesus?!?
I’m guessing that December 28th, Holy Innocents’ Day, is no longer part of the Christianist liturgical calendar.
Maybe he was right — there were reports that the idea of a caravan to the border was inspired and talked up through fake Facebook pages — but the political allegiance of the conspirators remains to be seen.
@Mike in NC: I’d say more like the regular SS. The Waffen SS were draftees and even included foreign units, including Slavs. In fact I met a Ukrainian Green Beret while I was in the Army. He was a Sergeant First Class when I met him, but he was quite proud of having been an Untersturmfuhrer in a Waffen SS anti-tank platoon. He said he never lost a man in combat against the Russians. The regular SS were volunteers, underwent extensive vetting to make sure they had no Jewish “blood,” and were fanatical believers in the Fuhrer. Note that the SS was able to recruit an least three divisions of that kind of man and keep those divisions manned until the end of the war.
Are you sure Cohen is the child of holocaust survivors? I had always previously heard his parents described as Russian Jews with connections to Ukrainian mafia.
Gin & Tonic
@Gvg: That’s his father-in-law you’re describing, Fima Shusterman.
Gin & Tonic
You must be ancient, then. The youngest Ukrainian Waffen SS veterans are in their mid-90’s at this point; if he’d been an Untersturmfuhrer he’d be pushing 100. If you were in the US Army at the same time as one of them you must be pretty far over 80.
GOP Jesus wep…well, issued a strongly worded statement but only because he wasn’t up for re-election.
Guess that’s some snark but it’s either that or despair.
“But,” they will say, “we’re Republicans because we’re pro-life.”
They don’t care how many already-born people die. But they’re pro-life.
@Ruckus: For Trump and Stephen Miller and John Kelly, the cruelty is the point. Really, these people are murderers, child murderers. And people think it is uncivil to taunt them in restaurants. Well, since they insist that the protects but does not bind them, a few taunts in restaurants is about the only thing we can do to hold them accountable.
They’re bots. When I remember that, I calm down. (Even if they’re people, they’re bots.)
I think we need to repurpose one of these desert detention camps… for CBP personnel. Surround the outside of the fence with a minefield a couple of hundred meters deep, lock them in by themselves, and leave. After removing all the food and water, and turning off the power.
It might make some entertaining betting at Vegas, how many of them stay inside the fence to die of thirst v. stepping out to find a mine to step on.
@Gin & Tonic: When I came on duty in the mid-1970s, there were a lot of senior NCOs (usuallySGMs or MSG (E-9 or E-8) and warrant officers) still on active duty who were WWII veterans. A lot of them had left active duty after WWII, but had come back on for Korea and stayed for Vietnam. Thirty years of service was required to get a full 2/3 of regular pay retirement, so due to their breaks in service most retired from the service from 1975-1980. So you only have to have been in the your early sixties and late fifties now to have known and served with these guys. Very impressive gentlemen (although if you read the history, their really was no difference the Waffen SS and SS, they were all assholes.
ICE and the Border Patrol are completely out of hand. This level of cruelty, not to mention casual, callous homicide, perpetrated by the US Government, ought to be one of those bright lines which, when you cross, you PAY. Jail time at very least. And working up (or down) the chain of command: who knew? Who articulated the policy? (Someone must have) What official personnel actually saw this little girl (and perhaps dozens like her) and did nothing?
My dearest hope is that when Dems take over the house, hearings start. There may be so many (as in, so many venal, criminal acts that need to be investigated, publicized, rectified, and punished) that House Democrats may be in the ‘hearing business’ for a decade at least. Inevitably some of these maggots in the Trump government will escape justice simply because there’s too much criminality, and it overwhelms the ‘hearing system’ (not to mention the energies of the Dems in charge, and their staffs, and the public’s attention span).
But this is one type of rampant criminality that whoever architected it, from lowest to highest on the chain of command, belongs in fking JAIL, for decades. I hope this case spurs a complete rethinking of immigration policy, and brings new standards of accountability…even if it’s only our side making the case.