A Grim Welcome


cjones01012019

For the second time in December, a child has died in Border Patrol custody. For the second time in December, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen deflected blame from her department and placed it on immigrants.

An eight-year-old Guatemalan boy, who Trump would say was at a “marginal age” for believing in Santa Claus, was detained with his father after illegally crossing the border near El Paso, Texas on December 18. DHS said he was transferred to a hospital the morning of December 24 after coughing and exhibiting flu-like symptoms. The child had a high fever, was diagnosed with a cold and released back to border agents with prescriptions for antibiotics and Tylenol. Later that night, Border Patrol agents rushed him back to the hospital after he appeared nauseous and lethargic. There was no emergency medical technician on site, officials said. The child lost consciousness on the way and was pronounced dead at the hospital just before midnight. He died on Christmas day.

DHS won’t say whether staffing in the El Paso facility was affected by the federal government shutdown.

A seven-year-old girl, also from Guatemala, died earlier this month from dehydration, shock, and liver failure after being in Border Patrol’s custody for eight hours. She was buried on Christmas day.

In a written statement, Nielsen said, “Our system has been pushed to a breaking point by those who seek open borders. Smugglers, traffickers, and their own parents put these minors at risk by embarking on the dangerous and arduous journey north.”

Nielsen is blaming the children’s deaths on their parents and Democrats. She definitely fits in Trump’s heartless administration. You’d have a better chance of finding a salad in Trump’s White House than compassion and empathy.

Trump’s get-tough policies on immigrants are the worst our nation has to offer the world. In addition to traumatizing children by separating them from their families, now they’re dying in Border Patrol custody. The buck does not stop at this president’s desk, especially when it comes to the deaths of brown people, whether they’re American citizens in Puerto Rico or immigrants crossing our southern border.

For the past several months, the Trump administration has been routinely turning asylum seekers away from ports of entry and telling them to wait, a practice called “metering” that the administration claims is based on a lack of capacity at ports. What Trump’s defenders, and fans of harsh treatment of immigrants don’t seem to understand, is that it’s legal to ask for asylum. Not accepting immigrants at the port of entry is forcing them to cross illegally, which can be much more dangerous. The Trump administration should be blamed for creating conditions that kill people.

Texas Representative Joaquín Castro said, “There is no reason that President Trump should be asking to fund a border wall when we are missing basic humanitarian pieces.”

What we’re missing is a humanitarian as president.

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