Elizabeth Warren on migrant mothers being detained:”They say that they can hear babies cry at night”
In a disturbing Facebook post, Senator Elizabeth Warren details recent visits to multiple immigration detention centers in Texas. She says the visit confirmed her worst fears about the men, women, and children who are separated and detained.
“There’s one thing that’s very clear,” she writes. “The crisis at our border isn’t over.” Warren describes the McAllen Customs and Border Protection (CBP) processing center as a commercial warehouse on a street lined with warehouses. “There’s no clue about the horrors inside,” she writes.
Upon arrival at the processing center that is at the heart of Trump’s “zero-tolerance policy,” she says she was immediately forced to watch a government propaganda video. “There’s no other way to describe it – it’s like a movie trailer,” she says. “It was full of dramatic narration about the “illegals” crossing our border, complete with gory pictures about the threats that these immigrants bring to the United States, from gangs to skin rashes.”
Warren says a CBP employee was unable to clearly answer her questions about how long people are being held there, and also verified that “older children” were still being separated from their parents.
“The warehouse is enormous, with a solid concrete floor and a high roof,” she writes. “It is filled with cages. Cages for men. Cages for women. Cages for mamas with babies. Cages for girls. Cages for boys.” She says the “stench” of the facility is immediately noticeable upon entering the cage area, and that the quarters are incredibly cramped. “There’s a toilet at the back of the cage behind a half-wall, but no place to shower or wash up. One man kept shouting, ‘A shower, please. Just a shower.'”
The area where the children are caged is even more heart-wrenching. When asked by Warren and her immigration specialist how long they’ve been there, the children were unable to come up with a solid answer. “The children told us that they had come to the United States with family and didn’t know where they had been taken,” she writes. “Eleven years old. Twelve. Locked in a cage with strangers. Many hadn’t talked to their mothers or fathers. They didn’t know where they were or what would happen to them next.” According to Warren, the children have nothing. “No books, no toys, no games. They looked shell-shocked.”
Because they are. They’re being tortured by our government and taunted by border patrol agents — that’s why they’re shell-shocked. They’re traumatized beyond measure.
The Trump administration’s definitions of what constitutes “separated” and “reunified” is incredibly murky, according to Warren. She says she learned while visiting Port Isabel, a government-dubbed “reunification center” that a family may be considered “reunified” if a child who has been separated from their parents is sent to live with a distant relative they’ve never met. And many relatives are unwilling to claim these children for fear of ICE investigations.
In addition, the Trump administration doesn’t consider a family to be “separated” if mothers and children are being held together in the same facility — even if they’re being kept in separate cages without access to one another. Not exactly a happy “reunion,” is it? “This isn’t a reunification center,” Warren writes. “It’s a prison.”
While visiting Port Isabel, Warren met with beleagured migrant mothers. “The women I met were traumatized, weeping, and begging for help. They don’t understand what is happening to them – and they’re begging to be reunited with their kids.”
During her Texas visit, Warren was also accompanied by three immigration lawyers. She says the lawyers are worried their clients — the mothers being detained — aren’t in the proper frame of mind to make important legal decisions surrounding their cases. Bottom line: the position these mothers are forced to be in is undeniably tragic and inhumane.
Warren ends her post by sharing the most important reason to continue to fight on behalf of these families — and it’ll shatter your fucking heart.
“When I finally went to bed that night, I thought about something the mothers had told me – something that will likely haunt me for a long time,” she writes. “The mothers say that they can hear babies cry at night. This isn’t about politics. This isn’t about Democrats or Republicans. This is about human beings. Children held in cages today. Babies scattered all over this country. And mamas who, in the dark of night, hear them cry.”