Even as the protest in Lafayette Park grows after Trump’s disgraceful public fellatio of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, it’s important to never lose sight of the human cost of Trump’s white nationalist policies.
Here is Jefferson. He’s an ordinary 6-year-old boy stolen by ICE from his father Hermelindo when they came to the border seeking asylum from gang violence in Guatemala. For almost two months, ICE kept Jefferson locked away from his father and abused him. We know he was abused because when he was finally returned to his father, he was practically catatonic.
Tonight, Guatemalan asylum seeker Hermelindo Che Coc was reunited w/ his 6-yr-old son, Jefferson at LAX. The two were separated at the border, didn’t see each other nearly 2 months. The boy had a vacant look in his eyes. Also a cough, bruise on his eye & rashes all over his body. pic.twitter.com/322p9WiIBr
— Esmeralda Bermudez 🦅 (@LATbermudez) July 15, 2018
I have an autistic child and he’s more emotive than that. Jefferson is not autistic. That is the expression (or lack thereof) of a child who has been systematically abused.
After seeing his son, Hermelindo was disturbed & shaken. The 6-year-old was vacant, lost. He had rashes all over his body, a red bruise on his eye, a cough & runny nose. He was much thinner. This is not how I gave them my son, he cried. My son has come back to me sick. @yamphoto pic.twitter.com/Iv8qAJbS0a
— Esmeralda Bermudez 🦅 (@LATbermudez) July 16, 2018
Even if you overlook the cough and runny nose as the risk of being cooped up with dozens or hundreds of other children (depending on the facility), it’s impossible to brush off the weight loss, the rashes, and the borderline PTSD. Kids don’t develop a thousand yard stare if they’ve been taken care of by people with their best interests in mind.
If you haven’t seen the reports leaking out already, they’re horrifying. Lice is rampant. Babies are not being bathed or having their diapers changed. The children are not being fed enough food. The guards (because that’s what they are, guards, not caretakers) call them names and verbally abuse them. And that’s just the little that we know about.
I’ve said it before and I continue to say it: We are going to find out two things. First, that the abuse is far worse than anything we can imagine. We are going to find out that the guards have been physically abusing the “animals” they’ve been charged with keeping in cages. We are going to find out that some of the guards have been pimping out them out because there is little to no oversight. We are going to find out that some of the children have died from neglect and the government covered it up.
Second, we are going to find out that this abuse is deliberate as a matter of policy. We are going to uncover emails explaining the intent to make sure the concentration camps for children are as horrible as possible. Why? Because making them safe and comfortable means they will not be a deterrent to parents trying to escape their countries. It’s torture being separated from your child but if they are safe and being properly cared for, it would be tolerable. That won’t do. The children have to suffer to send the proper message to the parents: Don’t come here or we will do terrible things to your babies.
If you think that’s insane, you are not comprehending the depths of hatred white nationalists have for brown skin. They literally do not consider immigrants to be real people. When Trump talks about the immigrant “infestation”, he’s not waxing poetic. He’s being quite literal. To the white Republican voter, immigrants crossing the border are literal vermin and who treats vermin with compassion or kindness?
Take another look at Jefferson’s face and tell me that he wasn’t abused by our government for almost two months.
We are engaged in crimes against humanity and when we remove the GOP from power, ICE needs to be shut down and its agents prosecuted. “I was just following orders” didn’t work for the Nazis and it won’t work here.
I’m a stay at home dad, father to a special needs son and a special daughter, a donor baby daddy, a militantly pragmatic liberal, the president of the PTA, a hardcore geek and nerd and I’m going to change the world. Or at least my corner of it.