Malice Is the Agenda at the Border

[Content Note: Nativism; child abuse; death.]

Following just two weeks after the death of 7-year-old Jakelin Caal in Customs and Border Protection custody, 8-year-old Felipe Alonzo-Gomez has also died in CBP custody. My deep condolences to his family, friends, and community.

At NBC News, Gadi Schwartz reported on the details of Alonzo-Gomez's death:

Reporter Gadi Schwartz, in voiceover, over video and images of border, camps, documents, and other associated footage: This is the area in El Paso, Texas, where an 8-year-old Guatemalan boy and his father were first apprehended on December 18. Six days later, the boy members of Congress have identified as Felipe Alonzo-Gomez was dead. Now, Customs and Border Protection releasing a revised timeline of events, amid outcry over his death, saying agents logged 17 welfare checks from December 20th to the 22nd, provided hot food and water, and listed several transports between three patrol stations, from El Paso to Alamogordo, New Mexico.

It wasn't until the morning of December 24th that an agent "noticed that the child was coughing and appearing to have glossy eyes." Thirty minutes later, CBP says he was transferred to a hospital. His temperature was 103 degrees. He was tested for strep throat, diagnosed with a cold, given medication, then released from the hospital and taken to another nearby holding facility.

A few hours later, CBP says, he began vomiting and, on the way back to the hospital, lost consciousness. He passed away at 11:48 (pm) on Christmas Eve.

Clip of U.S. Border and Customs Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan in an interview with NBC News: Well, we've responded by doing secondary medical checks. That means paramedics, who are also Border Patrol agents, checking each child in our custody.

Back to Schwartz, in voiceover: As a sweeping review has been ordered in detention facilities across the country, today Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is calling the death "deeply concerning and heartbreaking."

CBP says they are still holding Felipe's father. The 8-year-old's death coming seventeen days after a girl named Jakelin Caal also died in CBP custody.

Schartz continues, now onscreen: Border Patrol apprehensions are up nearly twice as much as last year, many of them being children. And currently there is a court order that's supposed to prevent CBP from keeping children in custody for more than 72 hours. In this case, Felipe was in custody for over 130.
During an autopsy, Alonzo-Gomez was determined to have had influenza.

I cannot even imagine how terrifying this child's last days were: Desperately ill with the flu, separated from his father, shuffled between detention camps in a foreign country, neglected and misdiagnosed, until he lost consciousness and died.

That's tantamount to designed torture.

When CBP separated Felipe Alonzo-Gomez from his father and took him into their custody, they assumed responsibility for his well-being. That's the law. And now they are responsible for his death.

Meanwhile, the malice being perpetrated at the border by the Trump Regime continues unabated, as the New Year was marked by border agents launching more tear gas over the border:
U.S. authorities fired tear gas into Mexico during the first hours of the new year to repel about 150 migrants who tried to breach the border fence in Tijuana.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement later Tuesday that the gas was used to target rock throwers apart from the migrants who were trying to cross.

"No agents witnessed any of the migrants at the fence line, including children, experiencing effects of the chemical agents, which were targeted at the rock throwers further away," the statement said.

An Associated Press photographer saw at least three volleys of gas launched onto the Mexican side of the border near Tijuana's beach that affected the migrants, including women and children, as well as journalists. The AP saw rocks thrown only after U.S. agents fired the tear gas.
Sadistic liars. Just like the president that's writing their orders.

I desperately hope that with the new Congress and a Democratic majority in the House, there will be some checks on Donald Trump and his vile nativist agenda. And I desperately fear that he will respond to attempts to curtail his abuses by accelerating them.

He must be removed from office. Lives depend on it. Surely that is clear now. It is not hyperbole, and it never was.

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