Pauline Binam, a Cameroonian American woman held in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody at Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia, was approached by a friend of hers, who told her a horrifying story. The young woman from Mexico had undergone surgery to remove cysts in her ovaries and, when she woke up from the procedure, the doctor had told her she could no longer have children.
Fifteen-year-old Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca was shot and killed by Border Patrol agent Jesus Mesa, Jr. as he played with friends in a culvert along the US-Mexico border. According to Hernandez’s survivors, he and his friends were running back and forth across the culvert to touch the US border fence before running back to the Mexican side of the culvert. Agent Mesa claimed the teen was “involved in an illegal border crossing attempt” and “pelting” him with rocks.The shooting resulted in an international incident. The Mexican government wanted the agent extradited to face murder charges in Mexico, the country where the murder occurred, even if the bullets originated on the US side of the border. The US government, on the other hand, decided Agent Mesa had done nothing wrong – that his deadly actions were clearly justified by the presence of rocks and/or border-crossing attempts.
The U.S. government is still taking children from their parents after they cross the border. Since the supposed end of family separation — in the summer of 2018, after a federal judge’s injunction and President Donald Trump’s executive order reversing the deeply controversial policy — more than 1,100 children have been taken from their parents, according to the government’s own data. There may be more, since that data has been plagued by bad record keeping and inconsistencies. The government alleges that separations now only happen when a parent has a criminal history or is unfit to care for a child, but an ongoing lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union argues that the current policy still violates the rights of children and families. Border Patrol agents, untrained in child welfare, make decisions that some parents are unfit to stay with their children based solely on brief interactions with them while they are held in custody.
“The Swedish Academy believes that in an open society there must be room for different opinions about authors and that there must be space for different reasonable interpretations of their literay [sic] works,” the letter said. It was signed by Anders Olsson, chair of the Nobel Committee for Literature, and dated November 15; news of it began circulating on social media two days ago. “We strive for respectful interchange notwithstanding sharply diverging views in important matters,” the letter added.In this instance, the important matter is genocide, and the diverging view is that it did not happen. The letter has a tragicomic aspect too — the world’s most famous literary group was unable to properly spell the word “literary.”
No other candidate in the U.S. presidential race comes close to Sanders in terms of his willingness to condition aid to Israel.
“YES, WE DO have concentration camps,” began the stinging critique of the Trump administration’s immigration detention facilities. It was written earlier this week by the editorial board of the Salt Lake Tribune, in the reliably conservative state of Utah.Andrea Pitzer, author of the definitive book on the global history of concentration camps, agrees. So do people who were once forced to live in another era’s concentration camps.But amid the debate about what to call immigration detention facilities, few people have disputed the truly terrible conditions that exist within them. Migrants have long reported awful experiences in immigration custody, but in recent months, an increase in the number of people, especially families and children, crossing the border and being detained has led to severe overcrowding.Dr. Dolly Lucio Sevier was granted access to a Border Patrol facility in McAllen, Texas, and wrote in her report about it that “the conditions within which they are held could be compared to torture facilities.” They “felt worse than jail.” The kids she examined were forced to endure “extreme cold temperatures, lights on 24 hours a day, no adequate access to medical care, basic sanitation, water, or adequate food.”
SENATE REPUBLICANS NARROWLY defeated an amendment Friday that would have limited President Donald Trump’s ability to attack Iran without congressional approval. The 50-40 vote gave the measure a majority of votes cast, but due to parliamentary maneuvering by Senate leadership, it needed 60 votes to pass.
I was naive about the kind of agency CBP has become in the Trump era. Though I’ve reported several magazine stories in Mexico, none have been about immigration. Of course, I knew these were the guys putting kids in cages, separating refugee children from their parents, and that Trump’s whole shtick is vilifying immigrants, leading to many sad and ugly scenes at the border, including the farcical deployment of U.S. troops. But I complacently assumed that wouldn’t affect me directly, least of all in Austin. Later, I did remember reading a report in February about CBP targeting journalists, activists, and lawyers for scrutiny at ports of entry south of California, but I had never had a problem before, not in a lifetime of crossing the Texas-Mexico border scores of times on foot, by car, by plane, in a canoe, even swimming. This was the first time CBP had ever pulled me aside.