Commentary, News

Horror stories emerging about life in former Wal-Mart-turned-ICE facility

The list of horrible acts being committed in the name of the American people by the Trump administration continues to grow. For a classic and stomach-turning example, check out reporter Alan Pyke’s story on Think Progress entitled “‘This is it for you. You’re fu**ed.’: Inside ICE’s abuse of migrant kids at a frigid old Walmart — Nicknamed the “hielera” or icebox, Casa Padre is a hellscape of cruel guards, sickening food, and psychological torture. Here are some excerpts:

“Children are sleeping on floors and being cussed out by guards, subsisting on meager rations of beans, crackers, and tortillas that leave them feeling ill, and passing the nights sleeping on floors under bright lights in a converted Walmart in south Texas.

The new reports of harsh physical conditions, humiliating psychological abuse, and basic deprivation at the so-called ‘Casa Padre’ facility in Brownsville, Texas, come almost a month after President Donald Trump took symbolic steps to quash public outcry over his family separation policy aimed at punishing and deterring migrants.

The children and parents who swore out hundreds of affidavits to attorneys appealing the United States government’s treatment of migrants have mostly fled violence in Central America. The conditions in which they find themselves today in the world’s richest and most powerful country shock the conscience — and almost certainly violate the conditions of the legal settlement that’s bound American officials in treatment of minors in immigration detention for decades, lawyers say.

In many cases, the only bathroom the children are allowed to use is located inside their holding pen.

There is a security camera in the room which points to the bathroom’ in the cell where a 17-year-old from Guatemala named Noe is being kept with a dozen other boys, he said.”

The story goes on to describe many dreadful aspects of life in the facility, including terrible food, outrageous discipline practices and a culture of abuse. Here’s the sobering conclusion:

“The horror stories were unearthed by attorneys seeking a judge’s help to enforce the longstanding consent decree that governs U.S. treatment of child detainees and families of migrants that include minor children. Only about one in 10 interviewees reported being treated particularly well, or offered any praise for the adequacy of the food, blankets, or other conditions, attorney Peter Schey of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law said in the filing that accompanied the shocking testimonials.

‘[A]bout 90%… provide testimony that is shocking and atrocious,’ Schey wrote. ‘It amounts to a picture not just of forcibly separating thousands of children from their parents, but on a much broader level of a program of forced hunger, forced thirst, forced sleep deprivation, coupled with routine insults, threats, and physical assault, that leave class member children crying, trembling, hungry, thirsty, sleepless, sick, and terrified.’

‘Mental health experts agree that many class members will never fully recover from the terror and humiliation they experienced in Defendants’ custody.’

Though Schey is bound by legal standards to use the word ‘Defendants’ there, the rest of us don’t have to be so oblique. The people doing this to the 900-plus children at Casa Padre and more than 1,000 others at other facilities — while also failing to reunite families as they were ordered to do by a federal court — are officials of the United States government that represents all 300-plus million people who are citizens of this country.”

 

 

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