Trump's Border Patrol Replicates Actual Nazi Tactic

[Content Note: Nativism; child abuse; Nazism; self-harm.]

At the Boston Globe, Liz Goodwin has an important report on what the separation of families at the United States' southern border looks like. I strongly encourage you to read the entire thing.

The headline of the piece compares the horrific scene to the Trail of Tears; buried deep in the article, I found a passage that pointedly reminded me of another atrocity.

This grotesque policy is causing reverberating harm to children and to their parents. At the Washington Post, Nick Miroff reports on the death by suicide of Marco Antonio Muñoz, a Honduruan asylum-seeker whose 3-year-old son was literally ripped from his arms.
Muñoz crossed the Rio Grande with his wife and 3-year-old son on May 12 near the tiny town of Granjeno, Tex. The area is a popular crossing point for Central American families and teenagers who turn themselves in to apply for asylum in the United States.

Soon after Muñoz and his family were taken into custody, they arrived at a processing station in nearby McAllen and said they wanted to apply for asylum. Border Patrol agents told the family they would be separated. That's when Muñoz "lost it," according to one agent, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the incident.

"The guy lost his s---," the agent said. "They had to use physical force to take the child out of his hands."

Muñoz was placed in a chain-link detention cell, but he began punching the metal and shaking it violently, agents said.

Though Muñoz did not attempt to assault Border Patrol staff, he was at that point considered to be "pre-assault" because he was so agitated. As one agent described it, Muñoz "had the look of a guy at a bar who wanted to fight someone."

"We had to get him out," the agent said. "Those cells are about as secure as a dog kennel. He could have hurt someone."

Unruly detainees typically are taken to local jails, where they can be placed in more secure settings or isolation cells, known as administrative segregation. Border Patrol agents found a vacant cell for Muñoz 40 miles away at the Starr County Jail in Rio Grande City. When they attempted to place Muñoz in the van, he tried to run away and had to be captured and restrained.

"He yelled and kicked at the windows on the ride to the jail," an agent said. Shackled and handcuffed, Muñoz attempted to escape again upon arrival and once more had to be restrained.

According to the sheriff's department report, Muñoz was booked into the jail at 9:40 p.m. He remained combative and was placed in a padded isolation cell, it says.
There, he hung himself.

Everything about this incident reveals how thoroughly U.S. immigration policy and the people who enforce it have dehumanized migrants and refugees.

Muñoz is spoken about as though his actions are those of an incomprehensible wild animal, despite the fact that he's a parent who made a difficult trek with his wife and child in search of safety, only to have his child physically torn from his arms and be isolated from his wife. That would make most human beings "agitated" and desperate to escape from a cage they are subsequently put in like an actual animal.

Of course he was trying to escape. He was frantic. Perhaps he looked less like "a guy at a bar who wanted to fight someone" than a guy in U.S. Border Patrol custody who is crushingly upset that he's been forcibly separated from his family and urgently wants to find them.

His child was abducted. His wife was lost to him. Instead of finding safety at the end of his journey, he found torment and torture.

"He could have hurt someone," says one agent, to justify the way they treated Muñoz.

He did hurt someone. He hurt himself.

This is what's happening at the border. Right now. It's being done in your name and mine. We must make noise and we must resist this with everything we've got. MAKE YOUR CALLS.

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