Border Patrol Kept Teen Mother and Her Premature Baby in Cages

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Here’s another heartbreaking story about the inhumane conditions currently being faced by immigrants on the U.S.-Mexico border. Like the rest, it is not for the faint of heart.

The Associated Press reported on Thursday that a 17-year-old girl from Guatemala was forced to have an emergency cesarean section in Mexico in early May. After the C-Section, the woman crossed the border with her baby on June 4. She told immigration lawyers who found her at a Border Patrol facility this week that people had carried her and her baby through the Rio Grande River, and that she had needed help getting into a Border Patrol car when they apprehended her.


But instead of taking her and her prematurely born child to an intensive care unit or medical facility, Border Patrol took them to the McAllen processing facility. In case you need a refresher, here’s how the AP describes it:

They were held in an overcrowded McAllen processing facility that holds hundreds of parents and children in large, fenced-in areas and gained international attention last year when it detained children separated from their parents. Advocates describe them as cages and say they are extremely cold. The converted warehouse is the same location where a flu outbreak caused authorities to shut down the facility last month.


After the immigration lawyers went public with the conditions the mother and child were in—one told the Huffington Post that the mother had to sit in a wheelchair because of the pain from the C-section, that the baby was “weak and listless,” likely due to dropping body temperature, and that the child had not cried in five hours—Border Patrol suddenly decided on Thursday to transfer them to a private facility for underage immigrants.

Earlier this week, the New York Times reported on a similar situation in Tucson, AZ, in which a 20-year-old woman from Guatemala was experiencing premature labor. A medical student who worked with her in a hospital told the Times that the Border Patrol guards would not leave the room while they conducted ultrasounds and a medical review, and that they repeatedly rushed the doctors so they could return her to the detention facility.

This is all horrific, heart-shattering bullshit, worsened by the numbing regularity of similar stories of humans being hoarded like animals under bridges or children being stuffed into a historically evil fort. Everyone involved in this should be in jail: the people with money and power who set forth the mandates to these immigration cops to act so inhumanely, and the cops themselves for following orders. Spare me the incessant whining about milkshakes and being yelled at in a restaurant; anyone responsible for throwing a 17-year old girl and her premature baby into conditions worse than our infamously bad prisons is evil.

It’s both beyond hellish and infuriatingly normal, by American standards, to be financially complicit in a humanitarian crisis every time you get a paycheck. There’s nothing more to be said here, other than: Fuck all of this.