A report from the ProPublica news service exposed a secret Facebook group made of current and former Border Patrol goons that engaged in vile racism against im/migrants as well as sexist and racist depictions of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
One poster showed the bodies of Oscar Alberto Martínez and his 23-month-old daughter, Angie Valeria and doubted the legitimacy of their deaths stating “have y’all ever seen floaters this clean… I HAVE NEVER SEEN FLOATERS LIKE THIS [their emphasis].”
Martinez and his daughter were from El Salvador.
FIRE strongly condemns these vile acts. What is to be done and who is to be blamed?
Since the exposure of this group many people have come out to rightly condemn the despicable behavior of current and former agents. Important massive protests have taken place across the country.
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez wrote a series of tweets later that described Customs and Border Patrol as a “rogue agency” where management and superiors have “lost all control of their own officers.” Others have blamed the Trump administration for poor leadership that, in their mind, created these concentration camps that deny detainees access to basic hygiene. They blame im/migrant deaths on a lack of oversight and push for what amounts to kinder, gentler concentration camps where detainees are given pillows, toothbrushes, and maybe allow families to stay together.
This is no answer. These camps must be closed altogether, people should be released and families united. Furthermore, these workers have earned immediate asylum as well as legalization for those who want it. Im/migrant deaths and the toxic culture of CBP are not blunders or the result of the Trump administration’s aggressiveness. They are the intended results of a system that depends upon the existence of a hyper-exploited group of people to drive down wages. The workers in these cages are forced to migrate, many coming from Central America where Washington has carried out policies that have led to massive destabilization. But people at the southern border today are not just from the Northern Triangle but from as far away as western Africa, Syria and India.
The blame for the current crisis cannot just be placed on “rogue agents” but should be placed on the huge government contracts given to private companies that run these concentration camps and profit on the backs of migrants. FIRE demands not only the abolition of ICE, but the jailing of these violently racist agents. The movement in the streets today must also demand an end to mass incarceration in the US as it is the the other side of the same coin.
We must fight for no walls in the workers struggle. Only then will this abuse end.