A devastating thread appeared on Twitter yesterday posted by attorney and Gaia Project Consulting CEO Elizabeth McLaughlin, who claims to be the friend of an migrant aide worker who told her that asylum seekers in Texas are being held in outdoor pens called the “Dog Pound” which is exposed to the elements with dirt floors, and from their they are moved to “The Freezer” which is kept at 55 degrees, while they are refused access to baby-formula, toiletries or clean, warm clothes.
And in the “I fracking told you so column” perhaps these overcrowded conditions are why CBP has quarantined as many as 5,200 adults who apparent at risk of contracting both Mumps and Chicken Pox while in custody of 39 detention centers.
ICE has recorded cases of either mumps or chicken pox in 39 immigrant detention centers nationwide, an ICE official tells CNN.
Of the 5,200 detainees in quarantine across those centers, around 4,200 are for exposure to mumps. Around 800 were exposed to chicken pox and 100 have been exposed to both.
The Department of Homeland Security has repeatedly warned of the toll the increasing number of migrants at the border has taken on the department. This week, Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan urged lawmakers for additional funding to assist operations, calling the crisis "unlike anything our country has ever faced.
So, that’s just swell.
Before i continue with Ms. McLaughlin’s thread, I want to again point out that it is legal to cross the border from any point and seek asylum in the U.S. so technically none of these people should be held in the first place not to mention without probable cause, access to legal presentation and an opportunity to provide bail.
If you are caught crossing the border and you don’t ask for the protection of asylum the first offense is a misdemeanor which has a civil penalty that starts at fine of $25.
What exactly the fuck is the reason for holding each and every person — whether they request asylum or not — in detention for weeks to months on end? This is all simply put: Bullshit. Dangerous bullshit.
And they are also using a former Oklahoma site for these extra-legal detention that used to be an internment camp for Japanese-Americans during WWII.
Ok, so now back to Elizabeth.
The existence of the “Dog Pound” has been confirmed right here on Dailykos:
Last week, a New Mexico State University professor discovered that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been detaining migrants again outside near the Paso del Norte International Bridge in El Paso. From Bob Moore’s interview with government professor Neal Rosendorf for Texas Monthly:
Rosendorf described it as “a human dog pound”—one hundred to 150 men behind a chain-link fence, huddled beneath makeshift shelters made from mylar blankets and whatever other scraps they could find to shield themselves from the heat of the sun. “I was able to speak with detainees and take photos of them with their permission,” Rosendorf said in an email. “They told me they’ve been incarcerated outside for a month, that they haven’t washed or been able to change the clothes they were detained in the entire time, and that they’re being poorly fed and treated in general.” [….]
CBP previously detained people under the bridge in March and early April but moved the detainees to enclosed conditions after a public outcry over reports of children and pregnant women sleeping on gravel and being bombarded with pigeon droppings. At the time, CBP officials said they were using an area on the east side of the port of entry as a processing center for migrants, preparing them for transfer to other facilities or release. Officials didn’t respond to questions about when they resumed detaining rather than processing people outdoors.
Both Rosendorf and Representative Veronica Escobar, D-El Paso, said they were told by detainees that some people have been held more than a month outdoors. They said they saw only single adults held outside at the bridge. Escobar said she was told most were Cuban men. The report by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General that triggered Rosendorf’s trip to the bridge was based on an unannounced inspection on May 7 and 8, a little over three weeks before he saw people detained outside.
These migrant men are fathers and sons and brothers who in all likelihood came here to work and provide for their families. It’s not okay just because there are no women or children that we know of currently detained by Trump and his monstrous administration in such cruel and inhumane conditions.
For those who don’t know, El Paso is in the Chihuahuan Desert where temperatures routinely reach into the 90s or low 100s at this time of year.
Apparently, Border Patrol’s strategy is to hide what they’re doing from the public, then to stall when questioned by the media or members of Congress. In this instance, they took 8 days to respond to Texas Monthly’s inquiries after Moore began working on this story.
The use of The Freezer has also been confirmed, this time by Human Rights Watch:
United States immigration authorities routinely detain men, women, and children, including infants, in frigid holding cells, sometimes for days, when they are taken into custody at or near the US border with Mexico. Migrants and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents alike commonly refer to these cells as hieleras (“freezers”).
All immigration detainees have the right to be treated with dignity and humanity, and children, whether unaccompanied or with family members, are entitled to additional safeguards under US and international law. This report examines US authorities’ compliance with the specific protections that should be afforded to children, drawing on 110 interviews with children themselves or women detained with their children. As detailed below, we found that conditions in holding cells at the southern border are often poor and in several critical respects identical to those previously found by US courts to be in violation of CBP’s obligations and prior commitments.
Women and children detained along the border usually spend one to three nights, and sometimes longer, in CBP holding cells, where they sleep on the floor, often with only a Mylar blanket, similar to the foil wrappers used by marathon runners, to protect them from the cold. Border agents sometimes require them to remove and discard sweaters or other layers of clothing, purportedly for security reasons, before they enter the holding cells.
Almost all of the women and children we spoke with said that they were not allowed to shower, sometimes for days, until just before they were transferred to longer-term detention facilities. Nearly all said that they did not receive hand soap, toothpaste, or toothbrushes in these holding cells, meaning that for the duration of their stay they were not able to wash their hands with soap before and after eating and after using the toilet. Most women said that menstrual hygiene products and diapers were available on request, but several told us they did not have access to these items while in CBP holding cells. If they had these and other toiletries among their personal property, they were not allowed to retrieve these items while in the holding cells.
Alright, back to Elizabeth.
Pass it on. Tell your congress person.