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Hermore writes: "A House committee looking into the treatment of migrant children at detention facilities on the US border has heard searing testimony from the mother whose 21-month old toddler died weeks after being released by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice)."

Yazmin Juarez, whose daughter died after detention by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill. (photo: Alexander Drago/Reuters)
Yazmin Juarez, whose daughter died after detention by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill. (photo: Alexander Drago/Reuters)


Mother Whose Toddler Died After Ice Detention Speaks Out in Emotional Testimony

By Edward Hermore, Guardian UK

11 July 19


The House hearing comes as reports of harrowing conditions at border detention facilities have sparked a national outcry

House committee looking into the treatment of migrant children at detention facilities on the US border has heard searing testimony from the mother whose 21-month old toddler died weeks after being released by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice).

Yazmin Juárez, who has said she was fleeing an abusive situation at home in Guatemala when she crossed the border to seek asylum in the US, recalled seeing a number of sick children while she and her daughter were being held at a family detention center in Dilley, Texas, in 2018.

Her daughter Mariee began showing symptoms after entering the facility, Juárez recalled. “First, it was coughing and sneezing, and a lot of nasal secretions – I brought her to the clinic where I waited in line with ... many other people in a gymnasium to get medical care,” she told the committee.

According to the family’s attorney, Mariee had a 104F fever and suffered from cough, congestion, diarrhea and vomiting a week after entering Dilley. But the symptoms were not mentioned by medical staff on discharge forms, according to the lawsuit.

Mariee’s condition worsened over time. She spent six weeks in hospitals before succumbing to a collapsed lung from a respiratory infection last May, six weeks after being released from the detention facility.

Juárez, who was embraced by the New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez after she delivered her testimony, has since filed a wrongful death claim seeking $60m from the federal government.

At the hearing, Juárez reminded the panel that she had made the trip because she feared for her and her daughter’s lives.

“The trip was dangerous, but I was more afraid of what might happen to us if we stayed. So we came to the United States where I hoped to build a better, safer life for us,” she said. “Unfortunately, that did not happen.”

Juárez’s testimony comes as government and media reports of harrowing conditions at border detention facilities have sparked a national outcry. On Monday, NBC revealed that migrant kids held in an overcrowded Arizona border station have reported unsanitary conditions and sexual assaults.

“It is painful for me to relive this experience, and remember that suffering,” Juárez said about her own experience. “But, I am here because the world should know what is happening to so many children inside of Ice detention.”

Earlier in the day, the House oversight committee chair, Elijah Cummings, called the treatment of migrant children at facilities on the border “government-sponsored child abuse.

“We will not be blinded by what we see,” Cummings added. “We have seen cases where the administration has deported parents without their children and still, to this day, have not reunited those families,” he added. “This is government sponsored child abuse ... on a grand scale.”

Mariee was one of seven children to die while in the custody of US immigration agencies, or shortly after being released from them, in the past year. During the hearing, the Hispanic caucus chairman, Joaquin Castro, read out the names of the six other children who died. Castro also described his visit to a facility in Clint, Texas, where he recounted seeing overcrowded cells and prisoners with no access to medication.

“It’s important to remember them as human beings and not just faceless migrants,” he said.

Chip Roy, the senior Republican on the subcommittee, accused Democrats of denying a humanitarian crisis at the border until recently and disputed the characterization of chain-link fencing at detention centers as “cages”.

“I’ve seen the facilities and I’ve not seen a single cage ... I’m seeing ways to try to separate people and keep them safe,” he said, according to the Dallas Morning News. “We demean the process and work of law enforcement officers trying to do their job when we call them cages.”

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+3 # Kootenay Coyote 2019-07-11 11:27
“We demean the process and work of law enforcement officers trying to do their job when we call them cages.”
Awww, the poor ICE policemen. Let’s call the things Unicorn Incubators, it’s a much nicer name…while the neglect, disease, rape, suffering & death then go merrily on.
 
 
+2 # PABLO DIABLO 2019-07-11 11:39
What have we become?
 
 
+1 # elizabethblock 2019-07-11 12:34
See Isaac Chotiner's interview with Michael Garcia Bochenek, of Human Rights Watch, on the New Yorker website, about the detention of children. (No mention of Israeli detention of Palestinian children, though. Why?)
 
 
0 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-07-11 19:43
What is happening on the US-Mexico border is perfectly consistent with how policing and imprisoning works all over the US. Just yesterday, the police in Anaheim, CA, shot and killed a 17 year old girl. Police kill people every day. They shoot them, they strangle them, they beat them to death, they suffocate them -- the list goes on.

The US has created gangs of thugs who protect the white middle class by brutalizing poor and dark skinned people. This is what an apartheid society looks like. This is what Israel looks like. This is what the US has always been.

It is time to stop it. There is no bigger job for progressive americans. This will take most of the next century to wipe out what began in the 1700s with the "slave patrols" and continues now with "ICE." I believe it will happen as the US turns more brown. But it will be a century before we really know it.
 
 
0 # DongiC 2019-07-12 01:21
Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings really nails it calling the border fiasco "government- sponsored child abuse". What have we become, Pablo, but a nation of monsters concerned only with our own well being. We put pleasure above everything else and we care not a wit for minorities and Hispanics. We are a selfish land of white , male, misogynistic creatures eager to flaunt our power and bully our inferiors especially their children. We have allowed our shadow side to conquer our kinder nature. We shall soon reap the whirlwind.
 

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