Things That Matter

A Group Of Women At A Migrant Detention Center Demanded Information About Covid-19, Then They Were Pepper Sprayed

As the Coronavirus spreads throughout communities across the United States, one group of people are at particular risk for contracting the virus: migrant detainees.

Tens of thousands of migrants are packed into crowded detention centers with little access to proper sanitation or medical treatment. Even before the outbreak of Covid19, migrants were facing outbreaks of measles and influenza at greater numbers than the general public.

Now, as they demand information on the risk this new virus poses them, they’re being met with violence.

As the coronavirus pandemic spreads, so have confrontations between detainees and guards.

Credit: DHS / Office Of Inspector General

On Monday, migrants clashed with guards over a lack of safe conditions and demanded to be released from the South Texas Processing Center. The melee led to a standoff and the guards shot pepper spray at the detainees, which ended with nine of the migrants now held for disciplinary charges. The detainees had raised concerns about the lack of screening measures for new arrivals to the complex.

Then, a day later in Louisiana, an ICE spokesman said seven people were pepper-sprayed at the Pine Prairie detention center. Earlier, an ICE detainee in New Jersey described harrowing conditions and said migrants went on a hunger strike for soap. ProPublica obtained an audio recording in which the detainee said that guards, in response to the strike for hygiene products in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, told the detainees that they “have to die of something.”

The threat faced by detainees in ICE custody is real.

Credit: Grisel Gringis / YouTube

Four people — two correctional officers and two detainees — tested positive for COVID-19 at New Jersey detention facilities.

According to ICE’s guidance, new detainees who arrive at facilities are screened and isolated for a certain period of time if they have a fever or respiratory symptoms. The staff is also consulting with local health departments to determine whether there’s a need for testing.

For ICE’s part, they’re defending the use of chemicals against detainees as a necessary tool.

ICE spokesperson Bryan Cox told Mother Jones that pepper spray was used because “four persons became confrontational.” The rest of his statement said:

“The facility was conducting an informational briefing on COVID-19 preparations and safety measures in a detainee housing area to ensure persons in custody have accurate, timely information about the situation,”

As far as the use of force against migrants, he goes on to say: “ICE is tasked with providing safe and secure detention facilities for individuals in its custody. On March 25, at the LaSalle ICE Processing Center in Louisiana, a group of ICE detainees became disruptive and confrontational with facility staff in their housing area. Detainees refused to comply with directives from facility staff and four attempted to force their way out of the housing area, at which time facility staff deployed oleoresin capsicum, commonly referred to as ‘OC’ spray. Upon deployment of OC, the detainees became compliant and facility staff was able to mitigate further risk of injury to both detainees and staff. This immediate use of force was conducted consistent with agency protocol. Medical staff evaluated all individuals who came in contact with the pepper spray; no detainee or staff injuries were reported.”

Even before the outbreak, ICE was using pepper spray against migrants in its facilities.

Last summer, over 100 immigrants were pepper-sprayed at a Louisiana Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center. The incident happened after a group of detainees began to protest the conditions they were being forced to endure.

ICE spokesman Bryan Cox said that a “group of ICE detainees refused to depart the outdoor recreation area at the Pine Prairie facility Friday evening,” adding that “after repeated attempts by facility staff and ICE personnel to disperse the group and restore orderly operation of the facility, a brief, calculated use of pepper spray was employed Saturday morning.”

And this incident came just a day after 30 migrants were sprayed at a separate Louisiana facility. It’s obvious ICE is eager to use pepper spray against detainees in their care.

Jane Roe’s Anti-Abortion “Conversion” Truth Is The Most Disappointing Revelation Of All Time

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Jane Roe’s Anti-Abortion “Conversion” Truth Is The Most Disappointing Revelation Of All Time

AKA Jane / Hulu

You might not know Norma Leah Nelson McCovey but there’s no doubt that you know her story. Or at least, you thought you did.

Norma McCorvey AKA Jane Roe was a woman who had one of the greatest impacts on U.S. history. Her role as a plaintiff in the landmark lawsuit Roe v. Wade of 1973 saw a ruling that determined that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that laws banning abortions in individual states was unconstitutional. The decision was monumental and yet, as great of a part in the historical decision she played, McCorvey quickly and publicly went onto reject her decision to have an abortion and became a mascot of sorts for the anti-abortion movement.

Recently, a documentary exploring the case “AKA Jane” uncovers the truth about McCorvey’s actual beliefs.

In a deathbed confession captured in the documentary, McCorvey admitted that her conversion to the anti-choice movement was “all an act.”

In the years after her abortion and landmark case, McCorvey became a Roman Catholic activist in the anti-abortion movement. In the documentary, McCorvey delivers the ultimate punch in the gut to women around the country when she admits that the only reason that she later became the face of the anti-choice movement was that she had been paid by the Christian Right Movement to do so.

According to the Daily Beast, AKA Jane Roe “finds documents disclosing at least $456,911 in “benevolent gifts” from the anti-abortion movement to McCorvey.”

In the film, McCorvey made the death bed confession.

“This is my deathbed confession,” McCorvey explained in response to a question about whether or not evangelical groups used her. “Of course,” she replies in the documentary. “I was the Big Fish… I think it was a mutual thing. I took their money and they took me out in front of the cameras and told me what to say. That’s what I’d say.”

The documentary reveals that McCorvey was a poor, queer, and a sexual abuse survivor.

While rallying for anti-abortion agendas, she was manipulated into becoming a figurehead and made to break up with her long time partner. But her 40-year long role in the anti-abortion movement, touting messages she didn’t actually believe is such a betrayal. Of course, it’s sad that McCorvey felt she needed to choose between a life of comfort and the values she believed in, but the idea that she went back on them at the expense of millions of women in this country for monetary reasons… ay ay ay.

No doubt, women on Twitter have been quick to express their frustration over the deathbed confession.

The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Demanded Equal Pay, Instead A Court Just Rejected Their Case

Things That Matter

The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Demanded Equal Pay, Instead A Court Just Rejected Their Case

Robert Cianflone / Getty

Women have been fighting for decades to achieve equality in the workplace: from being free from harassment or from being overlooked for promotions and new positions simply based on gender. But few fights have been as hard-fought and as important as the right to equal pay.

And few battles for this right have gone as mainstream and widespread as the fight being led by the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team – who have been fighting for the same pay as the U.S. men’s team. However, their battle just hit a major roadblock, but the team says they’re still moving forward.

A district judge in California has dismissed the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team’s claim of unequal pay. 

The reigning World Cup champion U.S. women’s soccer team is vowing to fight on after a judge dismissed their claim of unequal pay with their male counterparts. The judge said that their claims are not enough to warrant a trial.

The court caught many off guard with its May 1 ruling, which rejected before trial the team’s class claims under the Equal Pay Act and its pay bias claims under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The women say they’re paid less than the U.S. men’s team players because of their sex.

A spokesperson for the players, Molly Levinson, released a statement and said, in part, we are shocked and disappointed with today’s decision, but we will not give up on our hard work for equal pay. A couple of the prominent players, including Megan Rapinoe – tweeted, we will never stop fighting for equality. Tobin Heath said, this team never gives up, and we’re not going to start now.

According to the judge who handed down the decision, the women’s team actually makes more than the men’s national team.

Judge R. Gary Klausner said undisputed evidence shows the women were actually paid more per game than the men during the period at issue in the suit. And the women’s argument they would have made more if paid performance bonuses equal to the men’s was undercut by the women having negotiated a separate pay scheme with salaries and other fixed compensation instead of accepting the exclusively “pay-for-play” agreement the men play under, Klausner said.

The pay discrepancy is because of pay agreements that differ greatly between the two teams.

Credit: Robert Cianflone / Getty

The women’s and men’s teams ended up with substantially different agreements. The female players agreement allows the women to be compensated largely through salary guarantees, with additional opportunities for performance-based bonuses. On the men’s team, players do not earn salaries, but only bonuses, and therefore the men are only paid when they play.

The judge writes, “merely comparing what each team would have made under the other team’s CBA (collective bargaining agreement) is untenable in this case because it ignores the reality that MNT (men’s national team) and WNT (women’s national team) bargained for different agreements which reflect different preferences, and that the WNT explicitly rejected the terms that they now seek to retroactively impose on themselves…In May 2016, USSF offered the WNT a pay-to-play proposal similar to the MNT, but the WNT rejected it preferring an agreement that involved some element of guaranteed compensation.”

Though to be clear – that’s not how the women’s national team sees things and is why they’re pushing forward with their fight.

However, that’s not the way the women see it. On CBS This Morning, team co-captain Megan Rapinoe contradicted the judge’s assertion that the women turned down the men’s deal, “We asked to be under the men’s contract, and it was repeatedly refused to us, not only in the structure but in the total compensation. If we were under that contract, we would have earned at least three times higher.”

The women’s team still has substantial public support for their equal pay case. Joe Biden tweeted that if he becomes president he will not provide World Cup funding unless U.S. Soccer provides equal pay.