A Migrant Father Died In US Custody So His Daughter Is Now Being Treated Like An Unaccompanied Minor
An anonymous whistleblower reported to the Associated Press another fatality at the hands of U.S. Border Patrol Custody. The man was a 43-year-old father who traveled with his daughter from El Salvador for refuge in the U.S. He and his daughter were held for a week at the Rio Grande Valley central processing center in McAllen, Texas.
The unidentified man collapsed at the facility and was transferred to a hospital where he later died. A statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection offers no information yet on the cause of the man’s death.
His death is the seventh since December 2018.
Before then, there had not been a single reported migrant death in federal custody in more than a decade. New administration policies, likely fueled by privatized detention facilities, force asylum seekers to be detained in what are being referred to as concentration camps. The centers are overcrowded, creating unsafe and unsanitary conditions for migrants.
The man’s daughter is expected to be transferred to a facility like this.
There is no report of the daughter’s age or condition after her father’s death. She was in Border Patrol custody but officials have submitted an expedited transfer to a shelter specifically geared toward unaccompanied minor migrants. The goal is to release her to a sponsor, but it will likely take weeks or months until she finds a semblance of home.
Meanwhile, breaking news of a Facebook group for Border Patrol agents corroborates a culture of violence and disdain for migrants.
Last week, a Salvadoran father and one-year-old daughter drowned in the Rio Grande. The group, called “I’m 10-15” which is Border Patrol code for the arrest of an ‘illegal alien’, is filled with desensitized posts like this one.
News of Congress members arriving at Border Patrol facilities prompted members of the group to respond violently.
Included in the Facebook group discussion, as reported by ProPublica, includes photoshopped images of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez being violently forced to perform sexual acts on President Trump.
Out of respect for the Congresswoman, we have chosen not to disclose those images here. Instead, the lighter option is an example of a Border Patrol agent suggesting a racist and violent group effort “to throw a 10-15 burrito at one of these b***es. Who ever does it takes the pot of $$$.” We don’t know what a 10-15 burrito is but we’re sure it’s racist AF.
AOC pointed out that almost half of the total CBP agents in the U.S. belong to this Facebook group.
These people are in positions of power, meant to oversee the treatment of traumatized refugees in horrific living conditions. The Facebook group offers no hope that CBP culture is respectful of migrants or women.
Just today, AOC visited several CBP facilities and reported that women were told to hydrate from toilet water.
AOC’s first-hand report comes in just days after a doctor reported that breastfeeding mothers were only given 1.5 liters of water per day, less than half the minimum amount required. The doctor also reported that children were losing weight in American facilities.
“CBP made us check our phones,” AOC tweeted.
“But one woman slipped me this packet to take with me,” tweets AOC alongside a photo. “It says “shampoo,” but she told me that this is all they give women to wash their entire body. Nothing else. Some women’s hair was falling out. Others had gone 15 days without taking a shower.”
If migrants are dehumanized, how can their medical needs be taken seriously?
“Now I’ve seen the inside of these facilities. It’s not just the kids. It’s everyone. People drinking out of toilets, officers laughing in front of members Congress,” AOC followed up in a tweet.
“I brought it up to their superiors. They said, ‘officers are under stress & act out sometimes.’ No accountability.” It should never be a permissible cathartic act for an employee to force women to drink from toilets. These are government employees paid by our taxes.
An aerial view of a detention facility exemplifies the conditions under which seven migrants have died.
The U.S.’s capacity for detained migrants is 4,000 people. We currently have 15,000 in custody because our administration prefers indefinite detention.
We wish we knew the name of the man who bravely made the journey from El Salvador to give his daughter a better life. We’re so sorry the last week of your life was spent here.