Last week, Donald Trump referred to immigrant as “animals”, a comment which has been criticized by a wide range of advocates and commentators for its dehumanization. While apologists have tried to parse what Trump actually meant by the comment, the scary fact is that the Trump Administration treats immigrants like animals, period. We’ve seen it every day since the inception of this White House, and the Administration continues to find ways to expand its reach and power on immigration.
The Trump Administration has treated immigrants scarily inhumanely, and below are just some of the ways:
- Border Patrol detains two U.S. citizen women for speaking Spanish (Montana): the two women were detained outside of a Montana gas station for forty-five minutes after doing nothing wrong. The agent said on video that he wanted to see their IDs because they were speaking Spanish — a seeming violation of CBP’s policy on not profiling people based on race or ethnicity.
- Border Patrol detains 10-year-old on her way to surgery (Texas): Rosa Maria was on her way to the hospital for gallbladder surgery when CBP officials stopped and then followed her ambulance. A half-dozen agents waited until she had the procedure and could leave the hospital, then took her away from her family and put her in a children’s shelter. Rosa Maria has cerebral palsy and did not understand where she was or why she was without her mother.
- ICE tries to frame Dreamer as being a gang member (Washington): Daniel Medina Ramirez, a Dreamer with active DACA status, was picked up as a collateral arrest when his father was detained. Even though Daniel had his papers, ICE stripped him of DACA status, pretended that he was a gang member because he had tattoos, and put him in detention for more than a month. A federal judge later ruled that ICE was lying when it claimed Daniel was gang-affiliated.
- Trump Administration policies tear apart families: Shortly after taking office, Trump threw out existing deportation priorities, which told immigration agents to focus deporting the “worst of the worst” while allowing mothers and fathers who have lived in the U.S. for decades to stay. Since then, countless parents have been detained or deported, including the stepfather of a paraplegic boy, the father and primary caretaker of a young man with cerebral palsy, the father of a young woman in a coma, the husband of a hospitalized woman with multiple sclerosis, a father whose 5-year-old son is fighting cancer, and the parents of a baby boy who were arrested after taking him to emergency surgery.
- ICE agents arrest man inside house without warrant (Oregon): A man was helping to remodel the inside of a house when ICE walked in arrested him, without a warrant. They were dressed in plainclothes, didn’t identify themselves, and falsely denied the fact that they even needed a warrant.
- Border Patrol arrests grandmother off Greyhound bus (Florida): A grandmother from Jamaica, who had a valid visa, was in the country to visit her granddaughter for the first time. CBP pulled her off a bus going between Disney World to Miami, and didn’t even tell her family.
- ICE separates mother from 18-month-old baby for months (Texas): The Trump Administration is now separating parents from their children at the border, including one mother who was taken away from her 18-month-old baby in February and has still not been reunited with him. More than 700 children have been taken from their parents at the border.
- ICE arrests domestic abuse victim at courthouse (Texas): An undocumented woman was arrested in El Paso right after she was granted a protective order for domestic abuse. Her abuser called ICE to let them know his ex would be at the courthouse. During the Trump Administration, countless victims, witnesses, and others have been arrested at courthouses, which used to be protected spaces under ICE’s “sensitive locations” policy. A Michigan father was arrested while seeking child custody, and a Pennsylvania judge tried to have a groom arrested on his wedding day.
- Detainees work “forced labor” in immigrant detention (Georgia): At the Stewart Detention Center in south Georgia, detainees are reportedly deprived of basic necessities like food, toothpaste, soap, and toilet paper, so they have to work to pay for those items from the commissary. Their forced work preparing food, mopping floors, and doing laundry earns them between $1 and $4 a day, and a new class-action lawsuit alleges the practice is a “deprivation scheme” that is a violation of human trafficking laws.
- CBP tries to dump injured man into Mexico (California): A video showed Border Patrol agents trying to break international law by forcing an injured and mentally unstable man back into Mexico by falsely claiming he was not in their custody, and failing to identify him. The area where they were caught is reportedly a place where American agents frequently try to deport migrants covertly.
- Immigrant man detained after being hit by car (Florida): Medical care was temporarily withheld from Marco Huete, an undocumented bicyclist in Florida, after he was hit by a car. A police officer asked for his status before offering help and later fined him for hindering traffic. Marco was then detained by Border Patrol agents.
- Trump Administration keeping more pregnant women in detention: A new Trump Administration policy will no longer automatically release pregnant women from detention, despite the substandard standard of care found in detention and a record of miscarriages. Appalling conditions have been found in immigration detention centers, resulting in the deaths of detainees.
- Trump Administration deporting 500,000 families to unsafe conditions: In the last 18 months, the Trump Administration has terminated 6 out of the 10 temporary protected status (TPS) decisions that have come up, which means that almost half a million immigrant families who have lived in the U.S. for years or decades and been allowed to legally work will be kicked out. These families will be deported to unsafe places which recently faced natural disasters, life-threatening diseases, and gang warfare.
- Trump Administration is deporting immigrants to their deaths: CBP has been caught turning away immigrants seeking asylum at the border, a violation of international law. Both the current DHS Secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, and her predecessor, White House chief of staff John Kelly, seem to think of asylum as some kind of “loophole” rather than a necessary international protection for those fleeing danger. A labor rights advocate from Iowa and a Texas father are among the people who have been killed by gangs and cartels after their deportation.