Locking Children in Metal Cages—The Fascist Regime Expanding Its Ability to Torture Immigrant Kids:
This Nightmare Must End!

| revcom.us


An infant lying face down in the Rio Grande, dead in the arms of her father. Crying, hungry children locked in metal cages. Pregnant young women penned in frigid concentration camps that line the U.S.-Mexico border. Impoverished people traversing Mexico in caravans, being met at a border bristling with weaponry, and heavily armed military and police.

For the past several years the news has been filled with heartrending images of people who risk everything to try to make it to the U.S. border. The lives of millions of people are in upheaval and life-threatening crisis. What is driving people to risk everything to try to make their way across Mexico to the U.S.? Trump has snarled that the U.S. is under “invasion” by immigrants from Central America and Mexico trying to “break into” the U.S. Accounts in the major media always stay on the surface, speaking of the poverty and gang violence that plagues the countries of Central America, but never getting at the roots and sources of those conditions.

A Cascade of Horrors, Made in America

The reality is that for decades the U.S. has inflicted a cascade of unending horrors upon the people of Central America.

During the 1980s and 1990s, the U.S., under Democratic and Republican leadership, funded, directed, and waged counter-revolutionary, genocidal wars in GuatemalaEl Salvador, and Honduras. Hundreds of thousands of people were murdered in these wars, millions of others were impoverished and displaced. In the years since the U.S. has orchestrated coups and imposed punishing “trade agreements” on these countries that devastated farming and made people’s very survival dependent on expensive exports from the U.S. The U.S. supports and funds Central American governments that preside with unchecked brutality over some of the most violent and unequal societies on earth.

Mexico and Central America are in great crisis and turmoil. Millions of people are desperately impoverished. They are plagued by violence from the police and militaries of their countries, and from criminal gangs that have sprung up on the soil created by imperialism and are often in league with the governments. Environmental destruction driven by capitalism-imperialism has ruined much of the remaining farmland.

The refugee crisis and the horror at the border was created by imperialism and the dynamics driving it will only get worse in the years to come.

Besides the sheer inhumanity of the horror being done to innocent and desperate people, the fact that this suffering is absolutely unnecessary makes it all the more infuriating. The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian, states clearly that “The orientation of the New Socialist Republic in North America is to welcome immigrants from all over the world who have a sincere desire to contribute to the goals and objectives of this Republic, as set forth in this Constitution and in laws and policies which are established and enacted in accordance with this Constitution.” Go here to read more on the policy of the revolution; and go here to find out more about why this revolution is necessary and how it could be made. (Watch the film WHY WE NEED AN ACTUAL REVOLUTION AND HOW WE CAN REALLY MAKE REVOLUTION, a speech by Bob Avakian.)

Laying the Legal Groundwork, Preparing the Concentration Camps

The Democratic president Barack Obama deported more people than any president ever, and actually set up the system of detaining families. And the liberal New York Times has said that every president, of whatever party, will always be deporter-in-chief. Whether people are allowed into this imperialist country has nothing to do with concerns about humanity, but only about what benefits this system. Nobody who sits atop this system, Republican or Democrat, has any answer to the horrors of the lopsided world that it has created and must perpetuate.

But the fascist answer of the Trump/Pence regime has been taking the atrocities inflicted on the peoples of these countries to entirely new levels of criminality. It is preparing to massively expand and extend its torture of immigrant children and youth within the U.S. in the name of “defending America’s borders,” and “ending catch and release.”

For over a year the regime has been systematically pushing ahead with plans to arrest, imprison, and deport tens of thousands of immigrant families, including infants and children. In the past month, those efforts have gone into high gear. The government’s own data show that this year 69,550 migrant children were held in U.S. custody at some point, an all-time high. Now the fascist juggernaut is preparing, and in fact already beginning to implement, roundups in this country that could escalate rapidly and enormously. And they are preparing for global upheaval caused by crisis in the capitalist-imperialist system that compels countless more desperate people to seek refuge in this country.

In June 2018 Trump’s Department of Homeland Security announced its intention to quintuple the capacity of its concentration camps for immigrant children. About a week later Trump’s “Justice” Department (DOJ) petitioned a federal court to allow children to be held in detention for longer than 20 days, and to be kept in facilities that don’t require state licensing. In addition, at about the same time, the Pentagon began evaluating at least four military bases for use as “sites to house as many as 20,000 unaccompanied immigrant children, including three in Texas and a fourth in Arkansas,” as the El Paso Times reported.

Last month a federal judge rejected arguments by Trump’s lawyers that would have put an end to a 20-year-old agreement intended to prevent the government from imprisoning children and their families indefinitely. But four things are important to understand about this. One, Trump’s DOJ is fighting the ruling, in a case that could soon go to a Supreme Court packed with fascists that will very likely decide in favor of his regime, or taken to another of the many courts now dominated by right wing judges appointed by Trump (or Bush before him). Two, the government is expanding its ability to hold tens of thousands more immigrants, including children, with or without a court decision. Three, Trump has vowed to round up “millions” of immigrants, and in fact ICE has already begun extensive arrests and deportations of immigrants across the country. And four, as the Associated Press reported on November 12, 2019, “About 4,000 [immigrant children] are still in government custody, some in large, impersonal shelters. And more arrive every week.”

Institutionalized Torture

Separation of children and infants from their parents is a universally recognized form of torture. It can cause permanent brain damage to children. Dr. Claire McCarthy wrote in the journal Harvard Health Publishing that “there is an important scientific fact that we need to be aware of as the political drama at the border unfolds: when children are separated from their parents, they can be damaged for the rest of their lives.” Dr. McCarthy explained how children forcibly separated from their parents are inflicted with emotional and physical traumas and stresses that not only can trigger severe depression and other psychological damages, but harm to the body’s organs and functions. She concluded, “[W]hat is happening at the border goes beyond using children as pawns. The science is clear. We are literally ruining their lives.... This is more than wrong. It’s unconscionable.”

The conditions at the concentration camps where children have been held are squalid, disease infested, and overcrowded. A lawyer who spent about a week at a concentration camp in Dilley, Texas, this summer reported in The Nation that “Nearly every one of the almost 500 people that I saw in the detention center was sick.... [A]gents take them in their wet clothes, at first, to the ‘hielera,’ the ‘icebox,’ a refrigerated building ... where they had to try to sleep on the concrete floor or sit on concrete benches under mylar blankets, prodded by agents all night and day, deliberately kept awake. Bathroom breaks are frequently not granted, or not in time, so both women and children often soil themselves.... [T]wo bologna sandwiches for four days, for a mother and two children, was standard. Sometimes they missed food for a day. Sickness was not treated.... After the Hielera, they went to the ‘perrera’, or doghouse, a place where families were put in cages, cyclone fencing between them as though they were animals.”

The standards that institutionalize this sadistic abuse of infants, children, and young women are not brutal enough to “send the message” the fascists want. Lawsuits they’ve filed, and a law they are putting before Congress, would remove any level of government oversight to the concentration camps they intend to fill.

Many protests have been launched against the imprisonment of children across the country, and future protests are planned. Lawyers and medical professionals have provided support for the immigrants. All efforts like these are important—but much, much more is needed. The atrocities continue, and they are about to get far worse. They need to be STOPPED!

The Time to Act Is NOW

Relentless attacks on immigrants are a battering ram through which the Trump/Pence regime is advancing and consolidating its entire fascist program. Fighting to put an end to the horrors this regime is already inflicting on immigrants, and the even greater ones it is preparing, must be part of the one unifying demand #OUTNOW!

Now is the time, including over these holidays when the contradiction of families separated and children locked in cages is all the more glaring, to step into this fight and to struggle with others to do the same. Print off and spread this article, as well as the fact sheet on this website. And join with Refuse Fascism in the month of activities it has called for this January.

Download printable PDF flyer of this article here

Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 23-month-old daughter, Angie Valeria, drowned trying to cross the Rio Grande. Photo: AP

Only the Revolution Can and Will End the Injustices Done to Immigrants and Welcome People from All Over

The Demonization, Criminalization and Deportations of Immigrants

From Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, a speech by Bob Avakian

CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America

CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America
(Draft Proposal)

Authored by Bob Avakian, and adopted by the Central Committee of the RCP

Read and Download (PDF)

Click here to read Section H. on Immigrants, Citizenship and Asylum.

“There are No Activities, Only Crying”

Earlier this year, lawyers with the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law (CHRCL) and other organizations filed a suit in federal court seeking to mandate immediate inspections of concentration camps for immigrant children by health professionals. Among the statements in their suit are the following accounts of their conditions by imprisoned immigrant children in the El Paso and Rio Grande Valley border sectors.

“I started taking care of [a five-year-old child] in the Ice Box after they separated her from her father. I did not know either of them before that. She was very upset. The workers did nothing to try to comfort her. I tried to comfort her and she has been with me ever since. [She] sleeps on a mat with me on the concrete floor. We spend all day every day in that room. There are no activities, only crying.”—A 15-year-old girl

“The day after we arrived here, my baby began vomiting and having diarrhea. I asked to see a doctor and they did not take us. I asked again the next day and the guard said: ‘She doesn’t have the face of a sick baby. She doesn’t need to see a doctor.’ My baby daughter has not had medicine since we first arrived. She has a very bad cough, fever and continues to vomit and have diarrhea.”—A 16-year-old girl

“I was apprehended with my father. The immigration agents separated me from my father right away. I was very frightened and scared. I cried. I have not seen my father again... I have had a cold and cough for several days. I have not seen a doctor and I have not been given any medicine.”—A five-year-old boy

“They took us away from our grandmother and now we are all alone. They have not given us to our mother. We have been here for a long time. I have to take care of my little sister. She is very sad because she misses our mother and grandmother very much... We sleep on a cement bench. There are two mats in the room, but the big kids sleep on the mats so we have to sleep on the cement bench.” —An eight-year-old boy

“We are in a metal cage with 20 other teenagers with babies and young children. We have one mat we need to share with each other. It is very cold. We each got a mylar blanket, but it is not enough to warm up. There are benches but we cannot sleep there. Sometimes it is so crowded we cannot find a place to sleep, so they allow a few of us to sleep outside the fenced area. The lights are all of the time.”—A 16-year-old girl

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