Chaos and Cruelty for Immigrants Held in Brownsville, Texas

In the federal courthouse in Brownsville, in the space of 75 minutes, 63 people were read their charges, asked to plead guilty or not guilty, and sentenced. Handcuffed and chained at the waist, they had to stoop to raise their right hands.

All this for a misdemeanor: entry without inspection.

The 63 men and women shared the same lone public defender. When they spoke, they spoke in timid whispers, nearly inaudible except to the translators. Eleven said they would happily be deported if they could be reunited with their children. The judge said it is “U.S. policy that once you are finished here, you’ll be reunited with your children.”

Because there is no communication between the Customs and Border Protection agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services, no one can tell me – nor the members of Congress who were with me –what the plan is for reuniting parents and children.

The visit to the courthouse on Monday was one stop among many for a congressional delegation that included six members of Congress from Texas, New Mexico, Florida, and Mississippi who had come to the Lower Rio Grande Valley to learn more about the impact of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy and the willfully engineered humanitarian crisis it has wrought. I had been asked to join them by their host, Rep. Filemon Vela of Brownsville, Texas.

For their visit, the Congressional delegation toured a Border Patrol detention center and two non-profit shelters. It was clearly hard for them to recount what they had seen from the visit. Their words came in halting bursts. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico started to describe how he had to leave the shelter because it was too emotional for him. But he was unable to bring himself to finish.

Rep. Joaquin Castro of San Antonio and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston told of two 17-year-olds who had given birth in the shelter. When these young mothers turn 18, they will be moved to the adult criminal authorities and their babies will remain in the shelter. Lee and Castro were moved to tears.

After I left them, I walked the bridges of Brownsville and saw the lines of desperate migrants subjecting themselves to the sorts of indignities and inhumanities you would only suffer if it meant you could keep your children safe. 

I talked to two Border Patrol agents standing under a 10-foot awning, just feet from a Colombian woman named Claudia and her four-year-old son Nicholas who were fleeing domestic violence in their home country. Like every other asylum seeker, she had been told that she and Nicholas would not be separated if she entered “the legal way.” But the “legal way” was closed to them for now, the Border Patrol agents claimed, because the port of entry was “at capacity.” She had been there, sitting on the hard cement on the Mexican side of the border, for seven hours. Even with storm clouds looming overhead, she was determined to remain. 

I talked to a Border Patrol supervisor in an empty processing room — the one allegedly at capacity — where Claudia and Nicholas could not be processed. He refused to answer any of my questions. 

As I was lining up to board my flight home to Houston, I saw a grandfather, traveling with his two grandchildren, who was separated from them because their boarding numbers were not consecutive. A gate agent said he would pre-board them so they would be together. The woman behind me said, “wasn’t that nice. Families shouldn’t be separated.” 

No, they shouldn’t. I’m relieved the pressure of a nation has convinced this administration to change the family separation policy. But entire families should not end up in lockups for a mere misdemeanor. 

Trump's Family Separation Crisis: How to Help

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Anonymous

Ok Terry,this law was done by Bill( blowjob)Clinton get it right. Thank you

Susana

I am from Brownsville, and can tell you that the local governments of Brownsville and McAllen have made a business of illegal immigration. There are so many lies in this story. One illegal immigrant just got caught after stealing about $137,000 from government programs. And you think he is one of a few? LOL! As a USA citizen who grew in border town with Mexico, I can tell you that they come with rehearsed stories. Many families with children "disappear" the father and come demanding every free benefit they can get. Many illegals buy stolen documents. Also, many, once they have children in the USA, used their legal child's social security number to work on the side with "friends and relatives" who allow this. As you allow my Latinos, smugglers read a single sentence like this to rapidly increase the number of young illegal immigrants they cross. For those illegals who personally argue of how hard they work, you have to be honest to yourself, and recognize that while you work, you are also trying to cheat the system because after all, “El que no tranza no avanza” right? This famous Mexican accepted phrase says basically that he, who doesn’t cheat, doesn’t advance. Here, in the border town of Brownsville, we see how a girl whose parents are rich and who arrives in a luxury car claims that they don't have any money. She will get to go the university in a fully paid scholarship because by law you can't question them. The corrupt societies of Latin American always combine being smart with cheating the system. They always lie about their financial situation. If they are deported, don't worry, they will not be so young anymore. Just by knowing the English language, they will be able to get a job in their counties. They are also lucky that their parents do know the countries to which they will return. They talk about families being separated when most already directly LEFT their children back in their countries for many years before bringing them here, also illegally. How can you wish rape upon your “loved” one when according to a stunning Fusion investigation, 80 percent of women and girls crossing into the U.S. by way of Mexico are raped during their journey. Year after year, and due to the laws loopholes, we have paid many billions in getting every illegal and their families food stamps, housing, health care, free child birth, welfare checks, almost free education that USA students don't get, scholarship money that should go to your children, some even free cell phone service, free entertainment in the case of the illegal minors who get taken to waterparks and movies for weekly fun time. I am tired of seeing so many Mexican license plates, even luxury cars of known drug dealers’ daughters, outside the benefit offices of my border town. This is why dramatic Telenovelas (soap operas) are so successful in Latin American countries. Please, don't fall for it!

Anonymous

You must just be tired after all that rationalization of the hatred in your heart. Some say envy is green, but to be so low as to be jealous of the needy -- your political correctness inverts into crocodile tears as you spin snowflakes into the wind. Cry me a snowstorm.

Anonymous

Many, not all, need to be separated since they do not disclose gang affiliations. Gang members are no longer raging themselves. Therefore, as posing danger to society, the preventive measures being placed on migrants is correct. Surely, not all migrants deserve separation but at least during the process of investigation and true identification can they be filtered or weeded out as potentially dangerous individuals. It is a reality, a process, dangers during their venturing into America but cruelty is not being imposed. They receive good treatment, with no civil rights violations while in custody. I don't hear complaints from food stamp recipients giving up their positions for better treatment for real American families offered $20 a month when in need. If this should become an issue of funding, then take monies away from food stamp recipients, offering them jobs instead of handouts to even out the planes for everyone. Americans can then feel alleviated as to where findings will come from for the border and illegal migrant issues. We are a great nation, FOUNDED BY IMMIGRANTS. Let's not forget our origins, battles and current issues that have forged our nation into an immulated society. Freedom is sought by every individual regardless of origin. Let's keep it simple and make simple solutions. Don't overcomplicate issues!

Anonymous

These people need to come in legally! They actually cause more damage than good! They stretch resources to the limit, resources that normally NO U.S. Citizen gets for free, YES FREE! WE TAXPAYERS pay for they're medical treatment. To the media please cover how many of those illegal parents leave their kids behind only to later send them thousands of miles with complete strangers, kids as young as 1! How many of them will use fraudulent documents to work here, especially SSNs! These people exploit the immigration system! Mr. President, excellent job enforcing our immigration laws! Don't waver your against your oath of office! Keep prosecuting illegal entries into our country and support the Agents that work to enforce the nation's laws! These illegal unducomented immigrants need to understand that they are breaking laws instead of coming here to the U.S. and making demands. How many criminals here get to make requests! All overstays need to be deported! Play the race card, it's not a race issue!

Anonymousrr

Then go back home brown skin. We Americans are sick and tired of you foul smelling criminals crossing our border. Trump 2020

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