Things are bad in Flint, Michigan…really bad. It’s hard to imagine, but it’s even worst for some.
See, in order to get clean, free, bottled water from distribution centers, you need identification. Undocumented immigrants don’t have that and are terrified of deportation if they show up at these centers.
Take Lucia. She’s been living in this country for 23 years and more than a decade just in Flint: “I got close to see what they were giving out, and it was water. And the first thing they asked me for was my license.” She left because she was afraid of being arrested and deported. This is the case for all of the 1,000 undocumented immigrants living in Flint.
The contaminated water crisis began when the city of Flint switched their water source from Lake Huron to Flint River in order to save money. The residents were never warned about the existence of lead in the water leaching from pipes and contaminating drinking water. The contamination was so severe that Gov. Rick Snyder declared a state of emergency in January.
Luckily for many undocumented immigrants, churches, like St. Mary’s Catholic Church, and their volunteers have been distributing clean water, no questions asked.
It’s no secret that the U.S. government isn’t taking care of migrants at the border or detention camps. Undocumented people that are living under U.S. care are getting sick. They’re being exposed to the measles, chicken pox, common colds due to extreme air-conditioned facilities, abuse, and so much more. What makes this situation so much more infuriating is that the government could care less than people are getting sick.
This video of Department of Justice attorney Sarah Fabian went viral over the weekend because she was telling judges that undocumented people in detention camps don’t need soap, toothpaste or beds to sleep.
Fabian spoke with three Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal judges and said that they shouldn’t be required to give undocumented people hygiene products or beds to sleep in because those things are seen as privileges.
The case is based on a 1997 ruling known as the “Flores Agreement” that “requires, among other things, that the government hold minors in facilities that are “safe and sanitary” and that they are released from confinement without delay whenever possible.”
Here’s a portion of the transcript:
Judge Wallace Tashima: “If you don’t have a toothbrush, if you don’t have soap if you don’t have a blanket, it’s not safe and sanitary. Wouldn’t everybody agree with that? Do you agree with that?”
Sarah Fabian: “Well, I think it’ s—I think those are—there is fair reason to find that those things may be part of safe and sanitary.”
Judge Tashima: “Not ‘maybe.’ ‘Are’ a part. What do you say, ‘may be’? You mean there are circumstances when a person doesn’t need to have a toothbrush, toothpaste, and soap for days?”
Fabian: “Well, I think, in CBP custody, there’ s—it’s frequently intended to be much shorter-term, so it may be that for a shorter-term stay in CBP custody that some of those things may not be required.”
However, we know that the Trump administration is seeking to change that rule to allow for indefinite detention of children and migrants.
The judges were clearly frustrated with her and she could barely answer their questions properly.
Vice President Mike Pence tried to get out of answering why undocumented migrants wouldn’t need hygiene products while being detained during a CNN interview and basically didn’t even know what the hearing was all about.
“Aren’t toothbrushes and blankets and medicine basic conditions for kids?” CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Pence, “Aren’t they a part of how the United States of America—the Trump administration—treats children?”
Pence replied by saying, “Well, of course, they are Jake,” and claimed he couldn’t “speak to what that lawyer was saying.”
Now a team of doctors and attorneys who have seen the migrants up close are releasing their findings and claim that virtually everyone they saw was sick.
“The kids had colds and were sick and said they didn’t have access to soap to wash their hands. It was an alcohol-based cleanser,” Clara Long, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch said to CNN. “Some kids who were detained for 2-3 weeks had only one or two opportunities to shower. One said they hadn’t showered in three weeks. Hygiene and living conditions like this creates a risk of spreading infectious disease. It makes me very concerned about the public health emergency.”
Holly Cooper, co-director of the University of California, Davis’ Immigration Law Clinic and represents detained youth, put it this way, according to the Associated Press, “In my 22 years of doing visits with children in detention, I have never heard of this level of inhumanity.”
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is reportedly planning a raid in the early morning hours on Sunday in 10 cities.
It is being reported that the raids will target more than 2,000 families in cities with large migrant populations including Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, and Houston, according to officials who remain anonymous.
Trump tweeted on Monday that ICE would begin deporting millions of undocumented immigrants throughout the U.S.
They are allegedly planning to use hotel rooms to house everyone until the family can be deported together and say they might even arrest individuals that can’t be deported immediately. They will most likely be released with ankle monitors, in cases such as parents whose children are U.S. citizens.
“Regardless of citizenship status, for workers — including teenagers, mothers, fathers, and those with medical issues — to be treated like enemy insurgents is beyond disturbing. It is terrible, barbaric, and inhumane.”