It is undeniable that the flow of migrants towards a country presents all sorts of legal and financial challenges for a host country. Yes, we acknowledge that. But it is also true that the governments of developed nations to which Global South citizens try to migrate to escape poverty and armed conflict can choose to treat migrants (many of which are legitimate refugees fleeing real attempts to their lives and futures) in an ethical, humane way.
The recent influx of migrants to the United States has placed the spotlight on the conditions in which detainees at ICE Detention Centers are kept.
Credit: web18-detentioncenter2-1160×768 (1). Digital image. ACLU
We all, of course, remember the testimony of politicians such as Alexandra Ocasio-Cortrez, who witnessed first hand the dire situation. Children sleeping on the floor, people drinking water out of basins on top of toilets… a total recipe for a humanitarian disaster.
And healthy conditions are an exception rather than the norm.
Credit: 180618-immigration-cages-ice-01 (1). Digital image. The New York Post
There have been reported outbreaks of lice, bed bugs and upper respiratory tract infections at detention centers, and the authorities have been unable or unwilling to provide basic healthcare for detainees. There have also been a fair number of deaths by suicide. The victims are usually detainees who suffer from mental illnesses such as depression, which are unattended during detention. Since December, six minors have died while on ICE custody. Let that sink in.
And now there are alarming reports coming out of an ICE facility in Texas that houses women.
Credit: karnes-frc. Digital image. ICE.gov
As the Huffington Post reports, interviews conducted by the advocacy group Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) reveal appalling episodes in the Karnes County Residential Center, where women are forced to stay for lengthy periods of time instead of being released on parole or bond. Some of these women face serious physical and psychological ailments.
The interviews reveal cases of women with cancer that have not received any sort of treatment while at the facility.
Credit: _57298637.0. Digital image. VOX.
The interviews conducted by RAICES revealed an appalling level of negligence. As HuffPost reports: “One Congolese woman who was diagnosed with cancer in her uterus said she has not been taken to a specialist for treatment since being sent to Karnes at the end of July. The pain in her back and abdomen has become so bad that she sleeps only two hours a night, according to her declaration”. Another woman from the African country (which has a bad reputation when it comes to women’s rights and that has been immersed in an on and off civil war for years) said that doctors told her she most likely had cancer (she had, they told her, a 90% chance), but she hasn’t had a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.
Women at the facility are so desperate that advocates fear a wave of suicides.
Credit: migrant-detention-cetner (1). Digital image. WCCO
Andrea Meza, the director of family detention services at RAICES, told HuffPost: “We’ve heard so many women talk to us about wanting to kill themselves. It’s only a matter of time before someone dies at Karnes.” They also heard stories of unattended miscarriages and psychotic episodes.
The Karnes County Residential Center was originally built to house Central American migrants and their children, but things have changed.
Credit: port-isabel-detention-center. Digital image. Time.
The facility was supposed to be a place where families could be kept together. But things have changed and now it is a real place of human anguish. The report by RAICES concludes that the site is being run with punitive purposes, to discourage people from crossing the border. Really, do authorities just sit around in meeting rooms plotting how to be even more inhumane?
Now, the Trump administration announced that they will keep detaining families at this facility and Kamala Harris is against it.
Credit: download. Digital image. Politico
And Democrat lawmakers are not happy. As reported by Foreign Affairs New Zealand: “U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) on Tuesday sent a letter to Daniel Bible, San Antonio Field Office Director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), demanding that ICE reconsider detaining families and children at the Karnes County Residential Center in light of multiple reports of insufficient medical care and attempted suicides. Given the inhumane conditions at Karnes, Harris also pressed Bible to use his discretion to consider each eligible woman currently detained at the facility for release from ICE custody”.
There has been an increase in the number of undocumented migrants from Africa, and the Karnes County Residential Center houses a number of them.
Credit: abuse-texas-detenttion-center-1521822550. Digital image. The Intercept
The influx of Africans to the United States has increased dramatically in the past few years due to tougher immigration laws and enforcement in Western European countries and to the increased levels of violence in the region. Time reported earlier this year: “More than 500 migrants from countries such as Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Angola have arrived at the Del Rio border station in Texas since May 30, including a group of 116 people”. Reports suggest that instead of going through Mexico directly, African migrants first go to Brazil and then continue their perilous path to the United States.
We don’t always think of mental illness like anxiety and depression as an exterior problem. Because it is so internal, we often think the signs of mental illness are easy to miss and as a result, should be covered up. Still, so many of us have experienced mental illness to the point of being incapable of dragging ourselves out of bed or heading out for plans with friends.
Women of Reddit are sharing how mental health has affected their work and professional lives.
Check them out below!
“I tend to self-isolate when I’m in a deeper depression. I don’t accept invitations to do things with friends. I’m chronically single, so there is no SO for it to affect.
Mostly throughout all my depressions, I’ve still been able to make it to work. That would be all I could do in a day. Get up, go to work. Come home and sleep. Most of the time I could keep up the facade at work of being a chatty outgoing person. When I’d have my bad days, I’d just let my coworkers know I wasn’t feeling well so I probably would be really quiet those days. They’d assume it was a cold or headache, but really it was my depression weighing me down. I would occasionally take mental health days off work, but those were only when I knew I wasn’t scheduled for much and it wouldn’t negatively affect my coworkers much. I’d never do it on a busy day or if I was scheduled in something that it would be difficult to replace me in.
At my current job, I don’t have to interact with others as much. I am in an office environment now (I worked in a lab before), but sit at my desk/cube with headphones on listening to podcasts while I do my work all day. I’ve had some bad depression days, but I still come into work and just count the hours down until I can go back home and crawl into bed. Bed in my happy place.”- MadtownMaven
“ I have tons of vacation time and it feels like weirdly I take “too many” mental health days however I guess former jobs made it hard for me to “call in sick” just because ‘depressed’.
I’ve lost friends over my isolation ways. And a partner. Yay.”- duckduck_goose
“That was exactly how I felt right before I decided I needed help. It got to the point where I couldn’t leave and just called the house to beg someone to bring me a drink or food. hugs That being said, sometimes you just got to do what makes you happiest. And if that is your bed, you probably picked a good cozy spot.”- ktwat
“I’m an aspie. In my first two relationships, I was taken advantage of, taken for granted and left out of my social activities due to the fact that my interaction with others was often seen as “steely” or “intimidating” (unintentionally though). I found it difficult to get my feelings across or that my partners had very little time for me in terms of discussing interactional problems or even just simple things like my past. I was cheated on in both of those relationships, probably regularly, because any social training I have didn’t include how to interact with a romantic partner. I think I’m getting the grips of it now though and in my third long-term relationship. It helps that I am completely head-over-heels in love with the guy but also, he treats me with respect, points out when i do something wrong or say something inappropriate and I feel like I’ve learned a lot more over the past year in my relationship with him that I have in the past 30 years from therapists or other people. I’ve stopped all forms of medication now, and stick to a fairly strict routine which keeps me ‘in check.’”- Gamerdomme
“You know how when someone has PTSD in a movie they start drinking a shit ton and possibly sleeping around and denying anything is wrong with them? Yeah, that was me, all day. I wasn’t really in denial that I was fucked up, but I maintained it would just go away on its own and I could “work through it”. Ha.
I actually didn’t experience too many issues in friendships, I think I was pretty self-aware of when I was dumping my problems on people, and I have a lot of friends, so when one person was getting overloaded I could go to someone else. I’m also a good listener myself, so when I was dumping on people I made it clear I would return the favor any time, which most took me up on at some point. Focusing on other people was a great break from my own problems. I was convinced telling my parents about my issues would make them “real”, though, and I was convinced I was letting them down by having problems, so I lied my face off to them.”- SpermJackalope
“When I was depressed I made the mistake of relying on my friends and partners as therapists rather than friends and partners, and some of those relationships imploded as a result. I feel really, really bad about it now, but at the time I wasn’t in the head space to think about what I was doing. It got better when I got an actual therapist.
I pulled away from a lot of people too. I didn’t want my parents to worry, so I never told them it was so bad I was suicidal. Talking to them was exhausting because I was at university and wanted them to believe the experience they were paying for was the most amazing of my life, when in reality I was sleeping 20-22hrs a day. Eventually I couldn’t keep it up anymore and broke down in the middle of a restaurant and told them I was really struggling. To their credit they instantly had me in to see doctors, they did all kinds of research, they became cheerleaders … What I had needed all along if I’d let them know. There was one rough patch where my dad threatened to have me committed but I think, looking back, that it came from a place of fear for him worrying he might actually have to hospitalize his daughter for her own good. I can’t imagine how hard that was for him.
I’m better now. I have friends and my family and an awesome SO. It took me almost two years after I got better to really relearn who I was apart from my depression but the people in my life have been really patient about it. They’re generally understanding when I feel like I’m backsliding but I’ve learned to cope better than dumping all my problems on them as well.”-snapkangaroo
“I have an anxiety/panic disorder and sometimes depression. It really affected my schoolwork back in 2009. I went on academic probation. I was afraid to leave my apartment. Etc etc. Then I started getting help. Three semesters later I made Dean’s List. My anxiety has been up and down since then, but I’ve never let it affect my work again.
A year ago on the 15th of February I broke up with my most recent ex-boyfriend because of it. I had been open and honest with him in a way I had avoided before because I was scared of the stigma. He seemed receptive and empathetic. Then one day I came home, complained about a panic attack, and he laughed at me. He called me ridiculous. All of a sudden I realized what a tremendous asshole he was and broke up with him.
It’s hard for me to know the line. Who can I talk to about this? Who can I trust? My mom, my best friend, and my sisters I can trust. Anybody else? I don’t know. When can/should I start talking to the person I’m dating about it? Will he laugh me out of the room? Will he pretend to care for months and then laugh me out of the room?
I’m doing really well right now. I haven’t had a panic attack in months. My anxiety has been at an all time low. I’m hoping this is actually me getting better rather than me having a good spell. But I don’t think so. It’ll come back. It always comes back. And that’s part of the disorder. Being so afraid of the panic that it causes me to avoid thing and panic about things and let it control me. If it does come back, I can beat it again. I have in the past, I can in the future.”- BagsOfMoney
“It’s really inspiring to hear how you hauled yourself back up! Have you had to have any of those conversations lately? How does it differ to talk to family vs. friends vs. romantic interests about it?”- ktwat
“I have severe anxiety and depression. This is not your normal “sometimes I feel sad” shit. Also, I’m a hypochondriac and neurotic. What I’ve seen is that people need a lot of patience for me. They need the ability to listen to me as I coach them through my anxiety attacks (“don’t touch me; okay now I need a hug; give me space; I need water” etc.) and they need the ability to distract me when I get into neurotic/hypochondriac fits of anxiety. When I’m depressed, they need to understand it’s not because of them. This is always tricky to convince someone of.”- giottoblue
“One of my boyfriends didn’t “believe” in mental illness, and decided that therefore I shouldn’t be taking my medication for anxiety/ADD because “I shouldn’t be dependent on a chemical” and “it was all in my head and I could just feel better if I wanted to.” That relationship did not last, and that was a big part of that. That’s a thing that does actually happen, and was pretty harmful for me (although that’s part of the larger scheme of that relationship which tended to be rather manipulative, which is a whole other can of worms. Feel free to pm me if you’ve got any questions about it though.)
My current boyfriend is very understanding and supportive of that, recognizes that sometimes I need my space and that sometimes there are things that won’t just immediately “get better” and he’s really great about wanting to see me happy and calm and if my life gets super stressful (which happens somewhat frequently as a grad student) he does whatever he can to make it better! But he might be extra great about it.
I haven’t ever had anybody ever ask to have some of my meds (some of them being controlled substances that people pay a lot for on the street) with any seriousness, but I usually include that in my opening spiel about the problem. I’ve also had some experiences where people are talking about getting them from a doctor when clearly they don’t have a real problem (like, “yeah I went to my doctor and told him I can’t concentrate and now he gave me meds to take during finals…” sort of like that. I don’t mean that I’m an expert in when people do/don’t have a mental disorder. This is kind of like people who clearly smoke a lot of pot saying they suddenly go to their doctor to get it when before they had no indication of a problem. I’m trying to word this well and it really isn’t working but I hope that makes sense). In those situations I tend to just not say anything because it’s not something I tell a lot of people.”-all_that_glitters_
“I’m now in recovery for an Eating Disorder and have had a massive battle with anxiety.
Personally I’ve been able to see who my real friends are. My ED took over my life slowly but surely and as I started on the slope a few friends just seemed to distance themselves and then stop talking to me. I’ve got a smaller group of friends now but I trust all of them and wouldn’t change a thing.
The other aspect that was affected personally was my relationship with my boyfriend, he stood by me every single moment and helped me through basically every single panic attack/purge etc. He was my rock, but it almost split us up. During recovery I made a stupid mistake as my self destructive part took over, however, we made it through. I think the hardest part for him was that he just couldn’t see my train thought, he didn’t understand how my skewed logic made so much sense to me. There are still knock ons from this time as my libido dropped during my ED and I still find it really hard to initiate any sort of sex. I still have a poor view of what I look like, which is worse when stressed, but we continue to work through it.
Professionally, ED and then recovery has ruined my job. My boss has been pretty unreasonable with some aspects of it and continues to stress me out. She also told me during recovery that I wasn’t ‘crazy crazy any more, just girl crazy’. Also, any time something is wrong with me she automatically assumes its an ED issue and asks if I’m eating. It’s horrible to be constantly probed over something that you are trying to overcome/move past.”-marty1411
“The stigma is terrifying to me. I can’t imagine any other time when people find it okay to berate someone over an illness. Your boss sounds like she is asking for an HR conversation. And what in the everloving fuck does “girl crazy” mean? Like “your invalid problems are even more invalid because they are female invalid problems”? Bullshit. Every element of it is valid whether someone chooses to acknowledge it or not. I am glad you have such great support, though. Your SO rocks! Tell him some random chick on the internet loves and respects his patience and strength.”-ktwat
“My eating disorder has affected every aspect of my life since I was 13. I am in recovery now, but for over a decade, I was in and out of inpatient/residential treatment centers.
Professionally and academically, this affected me because I had to leave school and work at very inopportune times. It took me 7 years to graduate college because I had to take 5 medical withdrawals. It was an embarrassing reason to leave, so I usually wouldn’t tell any of my friends. One day, I would just not show up and stop responding to texts. Then when I would return, I would say I was just sick. I told my close friends, but it wasn’t something I wanted to broadcast.
All of my relationships have ended because of my eating disorder, whether indirectly or directly. I remember a situation with an ex where he wouldn’t let me purge. I became a different person. I screamed, kicked, cried, bit, punched, and hit him because he wouldn’t let me go. I called him extremely hurtful names. I didn’t care about anything in that moment except getting to the bathroom to shove me fingers down my throat. Eventually, he gave up and let me go. I ran to the bathroom and threw up. When I came out of the bathroom, I was so embarrassed.
My boyfriends do not just date me; they also date my eating disorder. I went to Germany with an ex, and he ended up calling his mom asking her to get me an early plane ride home because he couldn’t handle my eating disorder. I didn’t experience the trip while I was there because I only cared about food. I ended up convincing him to stay, but our relationship was never the same. We broke up very soon after that. When I climbed the castle stairs in Germany, I only wondered how many calories I was burning. I didn’t care about the beauty of the castles or the country.
Therapy has affected me in an extremely positive way. I have learned amazing communication skills by being in therapy for 12 years. I know how to effectively relay my feelings in every situation. I learned that it’s okay for me to have needs and that they may not always be met. I would recommend therapy to anyone. It is not just something for “crazy people.” It can be beneficial for anyone.”- toritxtornado
“I have bipolar II and generalized anxiety disorder. I also am currently dealing with post-partum depression.
I am on medication, but I am not in therapy right now. I’m doing pretty well for the most part.
I have a lot of problems with controlling emotions in general. But anger is the most difficult. It has almost destroyed my relationship with my husband a few times over.
He used to have a difficult time understanding that my disorders were causing my erratic behavior. He didn’t understand why I could just be happy and calm like him. He even talked me into quitting all of my medication early in our relationship. It was awful and I was having a lot of awful problems for it.
These days, especially after the birth of our first child and the post-partum psychosis that followed (complete with hallucinations and paranoid delusions) put things into perspective for him. He understands now that my mind just isn’t working properly in regards to mood regulation and perception.
I have lost friends due to it, mostly because of my rage problems where I would tell them off in the most cruel, painful, and humiliating way possible if I felt slighted or insulted by them. I don’t do that anymore, thank god.
In the past, a lot of my medications killed my libido. Right now I am on a good medication combination, my libido feels fine, maybe slightly lower, but I don’t have the problems reaching orgasm that I did with other drugs.
It hasn’t really effected my work much since I manage my disorders well with meds.
It did become a problems during my second pregnancy. I tried quitting all of my medication and started having back to back panic attacks. At work. I remember a few times getting panicked and just blacking out and wandering around the town I work in. That stopped happening when my OBGYN put me on wellbutrin.
I used to see a psychiatrist for my medication. It was expensive and felt creepy because he would analyze my every thought and movement. I see a family doctor right now and he has done a better job of finding good drugs for me than any of the psychiatrists ever did.
But it’s definitely not something I can be open about. I just don’t bring it up unless I know someone very well.”- antisocialmedic
For years now, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been enforcing cruel and, in many opinions, illegal immigration policies that have affected the most vulnerable among us. And they’ve been doing it without a permanent leader who can be held accountable.
The Trump administration relied on interim leaders and deputy secretaries to head the sprawling and powerful agency. Now, President Biden has nominated a frequent outspoken Trump critic to lead the agency and many are hopeful there could be real change.
The White House has nominated Texas sheriff Ed Gonzalez to lead ICE.
President Joe Biden has nominated a Texas sheriff, Ed Gonzalez, to lead ICE. Gonzalez has been the sheriff of Harris County (parts of Houston, TX) since 2017, leading the state’s largest sheriffs department. He has led a team of 5,000 employees in the position and previously served 18 years with the Houston Police Department, rising to the rank of sergeant, according to his profile on his office’s website.
Gonzalez has also been a vocal critic of elements of former President Donald Trump’s immigration enforcement policies.
Gonzalez is the second such critic to be selected by Biden for a senior position in the Department of Homeland Security, following the nomination two weeks ago of Tucson, AZ., Police Chief Chris Magnus to lead U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Gonzalez has long been a voice of reason within law enforcement leading many to be hopeful for change.
During his first term as sheriff Gonzalez ended a program with ICE that trained 10 Harris County deputies to determine the immigration status of prisoners, and hold for deportation those in the country illegally.
As sheriff he also opposed Texas legislation requiring local law enforcement to determine individuals’ immigration status, according to The Texas Tribune. The legislation was viewed as targeting so-called “sanctuary cities.” Gonzalez, like many in law enforcement, said the approach would destroy trust and make their job protecting communities more difficult.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas praised Biden’s pick in a statement Tuesday.
“Sheriff Ed Gonzalez is a strong choice for ICE Director,” Mayorkas said. “With a distinguished career in law enforcement and public service, Sheriff Gonzalez is well-suited to lead ICE as the agency advances our public safety and homeland security mission. I hope the Senate will swiftly confirm Sheriff Gonzalez to this critical position.”
ICE has long been missing a permanent director to lead the agency.
Gonzales would succeed Tae Johnson, who has been serving as acting ICE director since Jan. 13. He previously served as the agency’s deputy director.
ICE has not had a permanent director since 2017. The agency operated with five acting directors under the Trump administration. This comes as the Biden administration has faced challenges at the border, including a surge of unaccompanied minors crossing into the U.S.
The announcement of Gonzalez’s nomination comes on the heels of another major announcement from DHS. Mayorkas also announced Tuesday that he has directed ICE and Customs and Border Protection to place new limits on civil immigration enforcement actions in or near courthouses.