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Athos_131
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« Reply #810 on: June 23, 2019, 06:59:31 PM »

Inside a Texas Building Where the Government Is Holding Immigrant Children

Quote
Hundreds of immigrant children who have been separated from their parents or family members are being held in dirty, neglectful, and dangerous conditions at Border Patrol facilities in Texas. This week, a team of lawyers interviewed more than fifty children at one of those facilities, in Clint, Texas, in order to monitor government compliance with the Flores settlement, which mandates that children must be held in safe and sanitary conditions and moved out of Border Patrol custody without unnecessary delays. The conditions the lawyers found were shocking: flu and lice outbreaks were going untreated, and children were filthy, sleeping on cold floors, and taking care of each other because of the lack of attention from guards. Some of them had been in the facility for weeks.

To discuss what the attorneys saw and heard, I spoke by phone with one of them, Warren Binford, a law professor at Willamette University and the director of its clinical-law program. She told me that, although Flores is an active court case, some of the lawyers were so disturbed by what they saw that they decided to talk to the media. We discussed the daily lives of the children in custody, the role that the guards are playing at the facility, and what should be done to unite many of these kids with their parents. Our conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

How many lawyers were in your party? And can you describe what happened when you arrived?

We had approximately ten lawyers, doctors, and interpreters in El Paso this past week. We did not plan to go to the Clint Facility, because it’s not a facility that historically receives children. It wasn’t even on our radar. It was at a facility that historically only had a maximum occupancy of a hundred and four, and it was an adult facility. So we were not expecting to go there, and then we saw the report, last week, that it appeared that children were being sent to Clint, so we decided to put four teams over there. The teams are one to two attorneys, or an attorney and an interpreter. The idea is that we would be interviewing one child at a time or one sibling group at a time.

How many interviews do you do in a day?

We do a screening interview first to see if the child’s most basic needs are being met. Is it warm enough? Do they have a place to sleep? How long have they been there? Are they being fed? And if it sounds like the basic needs are being met, then we don’t need to interview them longer. If, when we start to interview the child, they start to tell us things like they’re sleeping on the floor, they’re sick, nobody’s taking care of them, they’re hungry, then we do a more in-depth interview. And those interviews can take two hours or even longer. So it depends on what the children tell us. So I’d say, with a team of four attorneys, if you’re interviewing several groups, which we sometimes try to do, or if you interview older children who are trying to take care of younger children, then you are interviewing, let’s say, anywhere from ten to twenty children per day.

How many kids are at the facility right now, and do you have some sense of a breakdown of where they’re from?

When we arrived, on Monday, there were approximately three hundred and fifty children there. They were constantly receiving children, and they’re constantly picking up children and transferring them over to an O.R.R. [Office of Refugee Resettlement] site. So the number is fluid. We were so shocked by the number of children who were there, because it’s a facility that only has capacity for a hundred and four. And we were told that they had recently expanded the facility, but they did not give us a tour of it, and we legally don’t have the right to tour the facility.

We drove around afterward, and we discovered that there was a giant warehouse that they had put on the site. And it appears that that one warehouse has allegedly increased their capacity by an additional five hundred kids. When we talked to Border Patrol agents later that week, they confirmed that is the alleged expansion, and when we talked to children, one of the children described as many as three hundred children being in that room, in that warehouse, basically, at one point when he first arrived. There were no windows.

And so what we did then was we looked at the ages of the children, and we were shocked by just how many young children there were. There were over a hundred young children when we first arrived. And there were child-mothers who were also there, and so we started to pull the child-mothers and their babies, we started to make sure their needs were being met. We started to pull the youngest children to see who was taking care of them.

And then we started to pull the children who had been there the longest to find out just how long children are being kept there. Children described to us that they’ve been there for three weeks or longer. And so, immediately from that population that we were trying to triage, they were filthy dirty, there was mucus on their shirts, the shirts were dirty. We saw breast milk on the shirts. There was food on the shirts, and the pants as well. They told us that they were hungry. They told us that some of them had not showered or had not showered until the day or two days before we arrived. Many of them described that they only brushed their teeth once. This facility knew last week that we were coming. The government knew three weeks ago that we were coming.

So, in any event, the children told us that nobody’s taking care of them, so that basically the older children are trying to take care of the younger children. The guards are asking the younger children or the older children, “Who wants to take care of this little boy? Who wants to take of this little girl?” and they’ll bring in a two-year-old, a three-year-old, a four-year-old. And then the littlest kids are expected to be taken care of by the older kids, but then some of the oldest children lose interest in it, and little children get handed off to other children. And sometimes we hear about the littlest children being alone by themselves on the floor.

Many of the children reported sleeping on the concrete floor. They are being given army blankets, those wool-type blankets that are really harsh. Most of the children said they’re being given two blankets, one to put beneath them on the floor. Some of the children are describing just being given one blanket and having to decide whether to put it under them or over them because there is air-conditioning at this facility. And so they’re having to make a choice about, Do I try to protect myself from the cement, or do I try to keep warm?

We weren’t originally planning to be there on Thursday, but one of the reasons why we came back for a fourth day is that some of the children, on Wednesday, told us that there was a lice infestation as well as an influenza outbreak at that facility, and so a number of the children are being taken into isolation rooms, quarantine areas where there’s nobody with them except for other sick children.

There was one child-mother who took her baby in there, because the baby got the flu. And then the mother, because she was in there caring for the child, got the flu as well. And so then she was there for a week, and they took the baby out and gave the baby to an unrelated child to try to take care of the child-mother’s baby. Sorry, I was trying to remember where I was going with that.

It’s fine.

Oh, I know what I wanted to tell you. This is important. So, on Wednesday, we received reports from children of a lice outbreak in one of the cells where there were about twenty-five children, and what they told us is that six of the children were found to have lice. And so they were given a lice shampoo, and the other children were given two combs and told to share those two combs, two lice combs, and brush their hair with the same combs, which is something you never do with a lice outbreak. And then what happened was one of the combs was lost, and Border Patrol agents got so mad that they took away the children’s blankets and mats. They weren’t allowed to sleep on the beds, and they had to sleep on the floor on Wednesday night as punishment for losing the comb. So you had a whole cell full of kids who had beds and mats at one point, not for everybody but for most of them, who were forced to sleep on the cement.

Where are these kids from, and where are most of their parents in most cases?

Almost every child that we interviewed had a parent or relative in the United States. Many of them had parents in the United States and were coming here to be with their parents. Some of the children that we interviewed had been separated from their parents. Most of them were separated from other adult relatives. Almost all the children came across with an adult family member and were separated from them by the Border Patrol. Some of them were separated from their parents themselves, other times it was a grandmother or aunt or an older sibling. We don’t know where the parents are being kept.

They are primarily from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. There are a few from Ecuador, one from Peru.

What is the attitude of the guards to your team?

They are on our side. Multiple guards told us while we were there that they are on our side and they want us to be successful, because the children don’t belong there, and the children need to be picked up and put in appropriate places for children. They want us to be successful.

So things like the comb and the punishment, that’s a rare story? Most of the guards care about the welfare of the kids to some extent?

I’m not going to say that most of the guards care about the kids, because we didn’t talk to most of the guards, but I do believe in the inherent goodness of people. And when I’ve talked to guards, they seemed caring, and they had guards who, when the children were there for these very lengthy interviews, would bring the children lunches in the conference room. They’re terrible lunches. That’s how some of the guards are, but the fact is that some of the guards are bad people, and there’s no question about it.

There are some other stories that we’ve heard from the children, such as that one of the guards has an older child, who’s seventeen, serve as the unofficial guard inside the room. So he tells the kids what to do, and he tries to keep the room neat and straighten up the mattresses and everything. Now, the guards reward him with extra food, and when a seven-year-old saw that this older boy was getting extra food by being helpful, he asked if he could help clean up the room and keep it neat so that he, too, could get extra food. And the seventeen-year-old chastised him for this, and then when an older sibling tried to stand up for his little brother, the guard intervened and reprimanded both the little boy and his older brother.

And so you’ve got a guard who is manipulating these kids, very similar to what we heard about in the concentration camps. I’m not going and calling these concentration camps, although I know that some people do.

I am curious, at just a human level, about you being at these camps this week, while much of the country, or a bunch of politicians, seemed outraged most of all by the fact that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez used the phrase “concentration camp.”

Well, we’re not watching the news. I saw a tweet. The thing is that all of our capacity is taken up. We’re waking up at six o’clock in the morning, and we’re on the road shortly after seven to go to our different sites and meet with these kids. And we’re meeting with them until five o’clock, sometimes—it didn’t happen this week, but at other site visits we’re staying until eight o’clock because there are so many kids to interview. And then what happens is we go back and we debrief. We did not eat until eleven o’clock on Wednesday night, and then we’re going to bed, waking up a few hours later and doing it all over again. There’s no capacity for processing what’s going on in the real world. It is all about these kids and the horrific conditions they’re in.

Was there anything that you think was specifically illegal?

I just got back from this facility where laws were being broken right and left. There is a judgment in this case that says that children are supposed to be treated a certain way when they are in government custody. All of these children are in government custody, and those very basic standards are being violated.

For example, in Flores, which is the class-action suit that governs the standards for the care of these children that are in U.S. custody, it clearly says that children are supposed to be kept in safe and sanitary conditions. And there is nothing sanitary about the conditions they are in. And they are not safe, because they are getting sick, and they are not being adequately supervised by the Border Patrol officers. This is a violation of the case law. In addition to that, these children are not supposed to be in a Border Patrol facility any longer than they absolutely have to, and in no event are they supposed to be there for more than seventy-two hours. And many of them were there for three and a half weeks.

And in addition to that, they are not supposed to be breaking up families. In the Ms. L case that was brought last year, when children were being routinely separated by their parents, that judge ruled that these children need to be kept with their parents, that family integrity is a constitutional right and is being violated. There were children at this facility who came across with parents and were separated from parents. There were other children at the facility who came across with other adult family members. We met almost no children who came across unaccompanied. The United States is taking children away from their family unit and reclassifying them as unaccompanied children. But they were not unaccompanied children. And some of them were separated from their parents.

Do you have some hope or sense that courts will step in promptly?

That is the hope. I will be honest with you: I am not authorized to talk about the Flores case. I am not one of the attorneys litigating that case. I am there as an expert monitoring compliance. It is a very active case, and the lead attorneys in that case are very concerned about what we found on the site visit. Even the little things—when they are transporting the babies, transporting the toddlers and the preschoolers, they are not putting them in infant seats or booster seats, and they are driving along Texas highways, all of which require children to be properly placed in the vehicle. It is so frustrating to hear the current Administration talking about the rule of law when they flout the rule of law right and left.

I know you have been doing this for about three years. For people you know who have been doing it longer, to what degree is this the worst they’ve ever seen, and to what degree is this an aspect of our immigration policy that has been going on for a really long time, and there is just much more of a spotlight on it now?

That’s a very good question. Things have always been horrendous in Border Patrol facilities, especially for children. That’s why Flores requires that the children be moved out of there as expeditiously as possible. So we’ve always been concerned about the conditions in Border Patrol facilities. What we’re concerned about now is the number of children who are there, the young ages of the children there, and the length of time that they’re being left there.

Almost all of these children have family members, including parents, in the United States, who are able to and want to take care of their children. All we need to do is to get these children to their families, and we know that almost all of them will be well cared for, and it will cost the U.S. taxpayer no money to care for these children, because they will be cared for by their parents.

Now, when I say that—of course there are certain inherent costs in running a society that will be incurred, but as far as direct care, at the facilities that we have the numbers for, such as the large facilities like Homestead, it costs seven hundred and seventy-five dollars a day to care for these kids. There is no reason for the American taxpayer to have to pay seven hundred and seventy-five dollars a day to care for children who have families who love them, and are here in the United States, and want to take care of them. There are multiple kids that we could put on a plane this week to be with their parents in the United States. Many of them have never spoken with their parents since they got there.

#Resist
Logged

#BlackLivesMatter
Arrest The Cops Who Killed Breonna Taylor

#BanTheNaziFromKB
Athos_131
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« Reply #811 on: June 23, 2019, 07:39:15 PM »

I’M A JOURNALIST BUT I DIDN’T FULLY REALIZE THE TERRIBLE POWER OF U.S. BORDER OFFICIALS UNTIL THEY VIOLATED MY RIGHTS AND PRIVACY

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I SHOULD HAVE kept my mouth shut about the guacamole; that made things worse for me. Otherwise, what I’m about to describe could happen to any American who travels internationally. It happened 33,295 times last year.

My work as a journalist has taken me to many foreign countries, including frequent trips to Mexico. On May 13, I was returning to the U.S. from Mexico City when, passing through immigration at the Austin airport, I was pulled out of line for “secondary screening,” a quasi-custodial law enforcement process that takes place in the Homeland Security zone of the airport.

Austin is where I was born and raised, and I usually get waved through immigration after one or two questions. I’m also a white man; more on that later. This time, when my turn came to show my passport, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer was more aggressive than usual in his questioning. I told him I’d been in Mexico for seven days for work, that I was a journalist, and that I travel to Mexico often, as he could see from my passport. That wasn’t enough for him, though. He wanted to know the substance of the story I was currently working on, which didn’t sit right with me. I tried to skirt the question, but he came back to it, pointedly.

I was going on three hours of sleep, and I hadn’t had anything to eat in the last 12 hours besides some popcorn and peanuts and a Monster energy drink. Had my blood sugar been higher, I might have cheerfully told him. Instead, I muttered something about not having a legal obligation, under the circumstances, to disclose the contents of my reporting.

The agent, whose name was Moncivias, said we would see about that. He asked me to follow him into the secondary screening area.

“Oh, come on, man,” I said, checking the time on my phone. It was just after noon. “This is going to be a huge waste of time.”

“I’m here all day,” Moncivias said. He might have been 30 years old, clean cut, with dark hair and light skin. He and I were close enough in age that there was definitely some male primate posturing going on between us. At one point, I told him that I had been in the Army. “Thank you for your service,” he retorted.

In retrospect, I was naive about the kind of agency CBP has become in the Trump era. Though I’ve reported several magazine stories in Mexico, none have been about immigration. Of course, I knew these were the guys putting kids in cages, separating refugee children from their parents, and that Trump’s whole shtick is vilifying immigrants, leading to many sad and ugly scenes at the border, including the farcical deployment of U.S. troops. But I complacently assumed that wouldn’t affect me directly, least of all in Austin. Later, I did remember reading a report in February about CBP targeting journalists, activists, and lawyers for scrutiny at ports of entry south of California, but I had never had a problem before, not in a lifetime of crossing the Texas-Mexico border scores of times on foot, by car, by plane, in a canoe, even swimming. This was the first time CBP had ever pulled me aside.

When asked to comment on specific details in this story, a CBP spokesperson responded with a canned statement replete with the sort of pseudo-military terminology that betrays the agency’s sense of itself not as a civil customs service but as some kind of counterterrorism strike force. “CBP has adapted and adjusted our actions to align with current threat information, which is based on intelligence,” the statement reads in part. “As the threat landscape changes, so does CBP.” The agency declined to put me in touch with Moncivias and the other officers named in this account or to make an official available for an interview, but a CBP source mentioned that the “port director” had reviewed “the tape” of the encounter. I found that very interesting, because I had specifically asked Moncivias and the other officers if I was being videotaped or recorded, and they had categorically denied it.

WE PASSED THROUGH a detention area harshly illuminated by fluorescent lights where armed CBP officers in dark uniforms outnumbered the few tired-looking travelers. The officers all had Homeland Security patches on their shoulders and pistols on their belts. Moncivias sat me down in a side room with a desk, two chairs, and a microscope on a filing cabinet. He left the door open.

A bespectacled supervisor named Lopez made an appearance. In a polite back-and-forth, I learned that I was not under arrest or suspected of any crime, and my citizenship was not in doubt, but if I didn’t answer the question asked by the “incident officer,” I wouldn’t be allowed into the United States. He handed me some brochures and left the room.

Moncivias was joined by an Anglo officer named Pomeroy, who had a shaved head and looked a little older. They stared at me expectantly.

“Fine,” I said. “For the last six months, I’ve been doing an investigative journalism project to determine which restaurant has the best guacamole in all of Mexico.”

Moncivias didn’t miss a beat. “And what restaurant is that?”

“El Parnita, on Avenida Yucatán in Mexico City,” I told him, truthfully.

The flippancy would cost me. From then on out, the officers made it clear that I was in for a long delay. When I saw how mad they were, I lost interest in the principle of the thing. In reality, I didn’t care if they knew what the story was about. The draft was done, and my editors had a copy. All I cared about was getting home to a cup of coffee, a sandwich, a shower, and my bed. In an effort to smooth things over, I said that if they really had to know, I was finishing up a story for Rolling Stone about some guys from Texas and Arizona who sold helicopter machine guns to a Mexican cartel and that I’d been in Mexico City to interview a government official who, for understandable reasons, didn’t want his name bandied about. I apologized for my grouchiness, blaming it on the stress of travel.

Cooperation didn’t earn me any leniency. Next up was a thorough search of my suitcase, down to unscrewing the tops of my toiletries. That much I expected. But then a third officer, whose name was Villarreal, carefully read every page of my 2019 journal, including copious notes to self on work, relationships, friends, family, and all sorts of private reflections I had happened to write down. I told him, “Sir, I know there’s nothing I can do to stop you, but I want to tell you, as one human being to another, that you’re invading my privacy right now, and I don’t appreciate it.” Villarreal acknowledged the statement and went back to reading.

That was just the beginning. The real abuse of power was a warrantless search of my phone and laptop. This is the part that affects everyone, not just reporters and people who keep journals.

IN GENERAL, LAW enforcement agents have to get a warrant to search your electronic devices. That’s the gist of the 2014 Supreme Court case Riley v. California. But the Riley ruling only applies when the police arrest you. The Supreme Court has not yet decided whether the same protections apply to American citizens reentering the United States from abroad, and federal appeals courts have issued contradictory opinions. In the absence of a controlling legal authority, CBP goes by its own rules, namely CBP Directive No. 3340-049A, pursuant to which CBP can search any person’s device, at any time, for any reason, or for no reason at all. If you refuse to give up your password, CBP’s policy is to seize the device. The agency may use “external equipment” to crack the passcode, “not merely to gain access to the device, but to review, copy, and/or analyze its contents,” according to the directive. CBP can look for any kind of evidence, any kind of information, and can share what it finds with any other federal agency, so long as doing so is “consistent with applicable law and policy.”

I had my doubts as to whether they could actually crack my iPhone and MacBook, but I didn’t doubt that they would be happy to confiscate them. So I decided to take another tack: I told the officers I had nothing to hide, but I felt I had a professional obligation to call an attorney for further advice. Pomeroy said I could not because I wasn’t under arrest; I just wasn’t allowed to enter the United States. I wasn’t allowed to leave the Homeland Security zone, either. I know because I tried to sort of wander out a couple of times and got yelled at. When I actually tried to call a lawyer friend of mine in Austin, Pomeroy stopped me. They held onto my phone from then out.

Sophia Cope, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has sued CBP over its warrantless device searches, told me that the agency “has for sure said no” as to whether there is a right to counsel during secondary screening. “They’ve been pretty consistent. You don’t get a lawyer. A lot of people have tried to push back, particularly after the Muslim ban. People were like, ‘I have a green card, and you’re putting me back on a plane to Iran. I need a lawyer to come down to the airport.’”

CBP has been doing warrantless device searches since the advent of the modern smartphone, Cope said, but the practice has increased by some 300 percent since Trump took office. In late 2017, EFF teamed up with the American Civil Liberties Union and filed a case alleging the unconstitutionality of the administration’s blitz of warrantless searches. Anecdotally, CBP appears to be targeting typical Trumpian scapegoats, including Muslims, Latinos, and journalists, but anyone reentering the United States can be subject to these searches. The 11 plaintiffs in the EFF and ACLU case are a computer programmer, a filmmaker, a graduate student, a nursing student, a limousine driver, a businessman, an engineer, a professor, an artist, and two journalists. All are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents who had experiences similar to mine.

“The secondary inspection environment is inherently coercive,” the complaint says. “Travelers are not free to exit those areas until officers permit them to leave.” Travelers are usually exhausted, sometimes ill, and may be under pressure to catch a connecting flight, anxious to get home to kids, or needed at work. Forcing travelers who are not suspected of any wrongdoing to cough up their passwords, on pain of having their devices seized, violates the Fourth Amendment right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures, the plaintiffs argue, and also infringes the First Amendment right to free expression and association by means of government intimidation and surveillance. “Regardless of whether you have embarrassing information on your device,” Cope said, “it’s about personal autonomy and living in a free society and not a police state.”

I DIDN’T KNOW all of this when I was being held by CBP. When the officers told me they only wanted to check my devices for child pornography, links to terrorism, and so forth, I believed them. I was completely unprepared for the digital ransacking that came next.

After I gave him the password to my iPhone, Moncivias spent three hours reviewing hundreds of photos and videos and emails and calls and texts, including encrypted messages on WhatsApp, Signal, and Telegram. It was the digital equivalent of tossing someone’s house: opening cabinets, pulling out drawers, and overturning furniture in hopes of finding something — anything — illegal. He read my communications with friends, family, and loved ones. He went through my correspondence with colleagues, editors, and sources. He asked about the identities of people who have worked with me in war zones. He also went through my personal photos, which I resented. Consider everything on your phone right now. Nothing on mine was spared.

Pomeroy, meanwhile, searched my laptop. He browsed my emails and my internet history. He looked through financial spreadsheets and property records and business correspondence. He was able to see all the same photos and videos as Moncivias and then some, including photos I thought I had deleted.

At one point, Pomeroy was standing over my laptop on the desk. I couldn’t see the screen, and he had such a puzzled expression on his face that I stood up to see what he was looking at. “Get back,” he said, clapping a hand on his sidearm. “I don’t know if you’re going for my gun.” At another point, Pomeroy had taken my laptop to the desk in the waiting area, and I thought I heard him call for me to come over, so I did. “Stand back from my gun,” he said, when he saw me approaching; it turns out he had been talking to someone else. Three times during the course of the secondary screening, Pomeroy pronounced words to the effect that he was subjectively forming a reasonable belief that I might grab his service weapon.

It was an implicit death threat and a rhetorical move on part of the police that will be familiar to people of color: I’ve got a gun on you, ergo, you’re a threat to me. Speaking of which, I’m certain this whole experience would have been worse had I been black or brown instead of white. And that is to say nothing of migrants and refugees, whose treatment at the hands of CBP on the U.S.-Mexico border is another matter altogether. But it does go to show that you can’t contain a culture of aggression to one part of an armed agency.

I was being physically submissive, keeping my hands visible at all times, not making any sudden moves, but Pomeroy would not let me see the laptop screen. I told him I at least had the right to know what files he was reviewing. “All of them,” he said, giving me a hard stare. “I’m going to look at all of them.”

“Please don’t look at the one called ‘Secret ISIS Confession,’” I said.

There was a South Asian couple detained along with me, a husband and wife with their luggage. Neither of them would have been able to get away with a crack like that. In my case, Pomeroy just determined to proceed even more painfully slowly.

Both he and Moncivias spent the most time on my photos. Admittedly, I had some crazy ones, including footage of combat taken while reporting in Iraq and Syria. Likewise, my phone contained many chat logs with people in the Middle East, and even more with people in Mexico and Colombia. That could make a border agent justifiably curious, but they had made the decision to detain me and give me a hard time well before they saw the images or messages. That I turned out to be a war correspondent just gave them more ammunition to question me.

“They ask a lot of fishing questions,” said Alexandra Ellerbeck of the Committee to Protect Journalists, which has documented dozens of unwarranted interrogations of reporters by CBP in recent years. “There’s an opportunistic element to it. It seems to be targeted towards general intelligence-gathering. They take a broad view of their mandate to ask these questions, and there can be repercussions if you refuse to answer. They’ll hold you for longer, search your devices, or flag you in the future.” She added, “We don’t think this should be happening at all.”

MONCIVIAS, POMEROY, AND VILLARREAL questioned me for hours on all aspects of my work. They asked about conversations with editors and colleagues. They asked about my political opinions. Moncivias wanted to know how I felt about Trump trying to pull troops from Syria. He asked if I’d had contact with the Taliban there, and I had to explain that the Taliban don’t operate in Syria. It was clear that they weren’t after anything in particular; their questions were completely scattershot. This wasn’t a continuous interrogation, either. They were wandering in and out of the room, leaving me alone for long periods of time. Interestingly, they didn’t ask me anything about CBP itself. I had told them my current story was about gunrunning, but they didn’t think to ask if I’d done any reporting on their employer, which I had. In fact, my laptop contained hard-won documents on CBP, but I didn’t see the officers reading them.

I did see them copy my laptop’s serial number and write down three or four numbers and alphanumeric sequences found deep in my phone’s settings. The only specifier I halfway understood was the phone’s IMEI number, which can be used to track its physical location. Even if I get rid of the phone, I could be on some accursed watchlist, or somehow electronically tagged, for the rest of my life. Even if it’s benign, like those devices scientists stick whales with, I experience it as an indignity, and you probably would too. They didn’t handcuff me, but the officers otherwise acted as if I were under arrest in a police station, though I had done nothing wrong and they had no reason to suspect me of anything. They frequently took my devices out of the room for long periods of time. When I asked if they had backed up the devices or copied files, they denied it, which I found hard to believe. “You didn’t stick a thumb drive in there?” I asked Pomeroy, who was walking around carrying my laptop. He pretended not to hear.

Around the three-hour mark, I became completely passive. Confinement in a blank room is a soft form of torture, especially if you suffer from a crippling caffeine addiction, as I do. They were “fresh out” when I demeaned myself by meekly requesting coffee. For a long time, I sat slumped in the chair with a mounting headache while Moncivias finished typing up his report on me. He would pause, carefully consult something on my phone, and then go back to typing. This went on for another hour.

It was around 4 p.m. when Moncivias finally finished up and informed me, anticlimactically, that I was free to go. I couldn’t wait to get outside because the detention area was freezing. No wonder Spanish-speaking migrants call CBP detention la hielera — the icebox. I took my phone and laptop and silently packed up my luggage, which still lay disemboweled on the desk, underwear and all. Pomeroy was gone by this time. As I was walking out, I said to Moncivias and Villarreal, “It’s funny, of all the countries I’ve been to, the border guards have never treated me worse than here, in the one country I’m a citizen of, in the town where I was born.”

“Welcome back to the USA,” Moncivias said.

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« Reply #812 on: June 23, 2019, 10:24:05 PM »

  Good to hear CBP Officers take seriously smart-ass activity, and lies told them, by all being screened for entry, including keeping such people away from the Officers firearm. The result was apparently the proper and legal result.
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« Reply #813 on: June 23, 2019, 11:48:35 PM »

You are a fucking idiot John.  Just do us all a favor and go fuck yourself.

I have been detained in this same airport for nothing more than objecting to a vigorous repeated massage of my male parts.  The TSA is a joke, security theater, the worst of the worst.  More TSA agents have been arrested for theft, than have valid security threats (toe nail clippers excluded).

15 agents showed up to my hearing, in uniform.  The judge looked at the file for a few moments and dismissed all charges.  But I am a white male lawyer.  Pity the rest of the nation.
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« Reply #814 on: June 24, 2019, 01:35:59 AM »

Sorry TSA has bothered you, Toe. Am sure you were not a smart-ass...

My comment was about Customs Border Protection, the focus of the preceding story, where a American citizen made a point to be evasive, during a entry interview with CBP, whose job is to protect YOU and ME from false entry by anyone.

Glad CPB was able to sort out the smart ass journalist's statements, and find his Identification and possessions to be in order, eventually.

Everyone should know, since this 'journalist' seemed not to know, about the fact that at Entry, your electronic items are subject, along with everything about you and your possessions to be searched and reviewed, found legal, or not, as part of the process.

Lying to CPB about writing a story regarding Guacamole was not a good idea.

You are a fucking idiot John.  Just do us all a favor and go fuck yourself.

I have been detained in this same airport for nothing more than objecting to a vigorous repeated massage of my male parts.  The TSA is a joke, security theater, the worst of the worst.  More TSA agents have been arrested for theft, than have valid security threats (toe nail clippers excluded).

15 agents showed up to my hearing, in uniform.  The judge looked at the file for a few moments and dismissed all charges.  But I am a white male lawyer.  Pity the rest of the nation.
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« Reply #815 on: June 24, 2019, 02:29:24 AM »

Yes, we know you hate journalists as you have supported the assault of at least two of them.

Don't you have some little kittens to drown somewhere?

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« Reply #816 on: June 24, 2019, 02:43:07 AM »

  "...Come closer..." said the Spider to the Fly...
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« Reply #817 on: June 24, 2019, 03:37:50 AM »

This is the appropriate thread for your racist shitbag ass.

You exude hate.

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« Reply #818 on: June 24, 2019, 04:36:31 PM »

The TSA incidents as described in the article and toe’s posts here and in the past had me musing during my insomnia last night about what they might find on my devices.  I think I did a reasonable job of making them wife safe.  There’s never really been much in the way of porn on them (except the pics sent to me by ‘friends’ from sites - all deleted).  Anything left that might create questions with her are G and PG rated, so nothing the TSA would care about.

I have an ap called Mutter I’ve used for the chat room.  It tends to save the last public and private conversations.  I know there are lots of chats there I would not want her seeing, in my defense though all of them would be dated before I even knew my Peruvian.  Still, would be difficult to explain some of the things there.  I’d like to think the TSA wouldn’t out me to her, but then the TSA might decide based on content she needed to know she married a pervert.

The only other area of concern would be what would the TSA make of my frequent browsing at KB.  Again I’d like to think the TSA would be thinking only legal vs. illegal, and wouldn’t find it necessary to have me explain to them and my wife that I’m not really a pedophile and don’t view that content.

Again I question the wisdom of being here.  In the meantime, I think I’ll leave my devices at home when I travel abroad.
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« Reply #819 on: June 24, 2019, 06:06:34 PM »

Just FedEx your devices home, or synch and do a factory reset erase.  Never had a problem, but I have attorney client files and communications on my devices, and feel an obligation to protect that information from the curious.  I do not take smartphones or flat screen devices through customs.
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« Reply #820 on: June 24, 2019, 06:11:17 PM »

  Good idea not to carry your regular personal electronics, when crossing into the US, if you have any reason for concern. A burner phone, from Wal-Mart, will do the job, and a clean laptop, for business, makes sense.

  TSA is not who checks those Entering the United States, and I expect Entry exams, when they choose to look through a phone or laptop, are less casual, if they find things to give reason to search further for CP, and more.

  CBP rules differ, will say 'may differ' as I am not entirely briefed, and that is who the story described, during the journalist's entry to the US from Mexico.
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« Reply #821 on: June 24, 2019, 06:16:14 PM »

 Good idea not to carry your regular personal electronics, when crossing into the US, if you have any reason for concern. A burner phone, from Wal-Mart, will do the job, and a clean laptop, for business, makes sense.

  TSA is not who checks those Entering the United States, and I expect Entry exams, when they choose to look through a phone or laptop, are less casual, if they find things to give reason to search further for CP, and more.

  CBP rules differ, will say 'may differ' as I am not entirely briefed, and that is who the story described, during the journalist's entry to the US from Mexico.


Curious, do you travel abroad for work?  If so, what kind of work do you do that would force you to do this?  What do you have to hide, since you seem so self-righteous?

If not, you are probably not in a position to give advice on this.

Piss off, shitbag.

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« Reply #822 on: June 24, 2019, 06:27:13 PM »

Mike Pence Just Chuckles When Asked About Horrific Child Detention Conditions

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Speaking with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence was given a chance to commit to improving the appalling conditions in which migrant children detained by the government are being kept. Instead, Pence squirmed, dodged, and at one point chuckled his way through an intensely uncomfortable exchange, desperately trying to blame anyone and everyone but the Trump administration for locking children away like dogs in a kennel.

“Aren’t toothbrushes and blankets and medicine basic conditions for kids?” Tapper asked Pence, after playing a clip of Department of Justice attorney Sarah Fabian arguing that those things weren’t necessarily part of the government’s responsibility for caring for minors. “Aren’t they a part of how the United States of America—the Trump administration—treats children?”

“Well, of course they are Jake,” Pence answered, claiming he can’t “speak to what that lawyer was saying.”

https://twitter.com/renato_mariotti/status/1142923138067566597

Pence went on to blame Democrats for denying the Department of Homeland Security funds to expand detention facilities during the last round of budget negotiations. But when Tapper pointed out that these were conditions the administration could address right now, asking “why aren’t we?” Pence simply laughed.

“My point is it’s all a part of the appropriations process,” he weakly answered.

Pence then continued to name check Congress, traffickers, and the Mexican government for America’s immigration issues, without once admitting that the administration could, if it wanted to, provide basic amenities like blankets and toothbrushes to children it has kept locked away for weeks on end.

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« Reply #823 on: June 24, 2019, 06:43:19 PM »











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« Reply #824 on: June 24, 2019, 06:49:17 PM »

Doctor compares conditions for unaccompanied children at immigrant holding centers to 'torture facilities'

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From sleeping on concrete floors with the lights on 24 hours a day to no access to soap or basic hygiene, migrant children in at least two U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities face conditions one doctor described as comparable to "torture facilities."

The disturbing, first-hand account of the conditions were observed by lawyers and a board-certified physician in visits last week to border patrol holding facilities in Clint, Texas, and McAllen, a city in the southern part of the state.

The descriptions paint a bleak image of horrific conditions for children, the youngest of whom is 2 1/2 months old.

"The conditions within which they are held could be compared to torture facilities," the physician, Dolly Lucio Sevier, wrote in a medical declaration obtained exclusively by ABC News.

Lucio Sevier, who works in private practice in the area, was granted access to the Ursula facility in McAllen, which is the largest CBP detention center in the country, after lawyers found out about a flu outbreak there that sent five infants to the neonatal intensive care unit.

After assessing 39 children under the age of 18, she described conditions for unaccompanied minors at the McAllen facility as including "extreme cold temperatures, lights on 24 hours a day, no adequate access to medical care, basic sanitation, water, or adequate food."

All the children who were seen showed evidence of trauma, Lucio Sevier reported, and the teens spoke of having no access to hand washing during their entire time in custody. She compared it to being "tantamount to intentionally causing the spread of disease."

In an interview with ABC News, Lucio Sevier said the facility "felt worse than jail."

"It just felt, you know, lawless," she said. "I mean, imagine your own children there. I can't imagine my child being there and not being broken."

Conditions for infants were even more appalling, according to the medical declaration. Many teen mothers in custody described not having the ability to wash their children’s bottle.

And children who were older than 6 months were not provided age-appropriate meal options, including no pureed foods necessary for a child's development, Lucio Sevier reported.

"To deny parents the ability to wash their infant's bottles is unconscionable and could be considered intentional mental and emotional abuse," she wrote.

The attorneys who represent the children threatened to sue the government if it denied a visit from a physician. They are part of a team working under the Flores settlement agreement, a 1997 ruling that stipulated detention standards for unaccompanied minors, including being held for less than 72 hours and in the “least restrictive setting appropriate to the child’s age and special needs.”

As part of that ruling, the lawyers, who are part of a class action lawsuit, represent all children in custody and, as such, are allowed to visit and interview them.

Lucio Sevier has no connection to the lawyers aside from their request for a physician to be granted access. The legal team, also from the Flores settlement agreement group, had negotiated access to the Clint facility in advance and officials from CBP knew of their pending arrival for weeks.

The alleged conditions documented at the facilities follow a Homeland Security inspector general report that found "dangerous overcrowding" and unsanitary conditions at a different CBP facility in El Paso, Texas, where hundreds more migrants were being housed than the center was designed to hold.

The El Paso Del Norte Processing Center housed as many as 900 migrant detainees earlier this month despite only having a recommended capacity for 125.

The reports come as President Donald Trump continues to make immigration a staple of his administration and a key issue in his re-election bid. After threatening to deport more than 2,000 undocumented immigrants, and then extending the deadline by two weeks, the president on Sunday tweeted his intention to "fix the Southern Border."

Later in the day, the president blamed his predecessor for implementing the policy of separating migrant. Trump said he ended the policy, too.

"You know, under President Obama you had separation. I was the one that ended it," he told reporters.

The Obama administration's policy only separated families in rare circumstances when the child's safety might be at risk.

Last April, the Trump administration and his attorney general at the time, Jeff Sessions, enacted a "zero-tolerance" approach that called for stepped-up prosecutions of any adult crossing the border illegally. As a result, 2,700 children were separated from their families in a matter of weeks.

More than a year later, though, documents from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services -- obtained by immigration rights groups and the Houston Chronicle through a Freedom of Information Act request -- show family separations are still happening, even after a court ordered children to be reunited with their parents.

The documents showed more than 700 children were separated from parents between last June and May, often with questionable legal justification.

The CBP, however, said in a statement it has limited resources and is leveraging all of them to "provide the best care possible to those in our custody, especially children."

"As [Department of Homeland Security] and CBP leadership have noted numerous times, our short-term holding facilities were not designed to hold vulnerable populations and we urgently need additional humanitarian funding to manage this crisis," the statement read. "CBP works closely with our partners at the Department of Health and Human Services to transfer unaccompanied children to their custody as soon as placement is identified, and as quickly and expeditiously as possible to ensure proper care.

"All allegations of civil rights abuses or mistreatment in CBP detention are taken seriously and investigated to the fullest extent possible," the statement continued.

A U.S. government official added that the immigration system is "clearly broken," but CBP is doing everything it can to "provide appropriate care for children in custody, even though they were never meant to."

"The acting secretary and acting commissioner have been warning about these dire circumstances for months," the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, added. "More must be done to confront this humanitarian crisis and the requested supplemental funding is critical to mitigating it."

The source added that transferring the children to the custody of the Health and Human Services department is a "top CBP priority."

"Without a specific allegation of separating family members that can be looked into, CBP wouldn’t and shouldn't provide additional details without knowing the facts and circumstances of individual cases," the official added.

As for the conditions at detention facilities, lawyers for the Trump administration last week argued that providing basic necessities, like soap, was not a requirement of the Flores agreement. Three judges on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals repeatedly asked if the lawyers if they were arguing that "safe and sanitary" did not include the ability to sleep soundly or use soap.

In Congress, the Senate Appropriations Committee last week passed, almost unanimously, a $4.6 billion spending bill that included $2.9 billion for HHS programs for unaccompanied children, and it is expected to pass the full Senate this week.

That bill also includes strict regulations that the funds may not used for Trump's proposed border wall.

But House Democrats have crafted their own version of the legislation, which includes enhanced standards at detention facilities.

Leadership in each chamber must then decide on a path forward to reconcile the differences, with lawmakers preparing to leave for a week-long July Fourth recess by Friday.

Trump said despite Democrats not "even approving giving us money," his administration is doing a "fantastic job under the circumstances."

"Where is the money?" he asked. "You know what? The Democrats are holding up the humanitarian aid.”

Wherever the blame lies, the lawyers with the Flores agreement team said present-day conditions at the facilities need urgent attention. At the Clint facility, the environment was just as bad as they were at the McAllen site, the lawyers said.

The Associated Press first reported on the alleged neglect at the Clint facility, reporting ABC News later confirmed.

All of the detainees had been in custody longer than the 72 hours permitted for unaccompanied minors under the Flores agreement. The lengths of stay ranged from four days to 24 days.

"We wanted to try and find out what was happening down there and why these children were dying at a rate that we’ve never seen before,” said Warren Binford, a law professor at Willamette University who helped interview the children at the Clint border patrol facility.

On the day they arrived, they witnessed the Clint facility was home to 351 children -- most from the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. More than 100 were under the age of 13, while 18 children were 4 years old or younger, including the youngest, a 4 1/2-month-old, the lawyers found.

Like the McAllen facility, many were held for three weeks or longer, the lawyers learned from the children. Binford added the children who were old enough explained they arrived with a family member or planned to join a parent in the U.S. and all were lawfully entering and claiming asylum.

A lawyer who works with the Flores team told ABC News many children had parents living in the U.S. with whom they wanted to be reunited; others said they had been separated from their parents at the border.

The administration has maintained that separation only occurs in situations in which a family member is dangerous or cannot be confirmed to be the legal guardian.

At the Clint facility, Binford described conditions that included infants and toddlers sleeping on concrete floors, a lice outbreak that led to guards providing two lice combs to 20 children to "work it out," guards punishing the children by taking away sleeping mats and blankets, and guards creating a "child boss" to help keep the other kids in line by rewarding them with extra food.

She said one of the most striking examples was a 2-year-old brought to her with no diaper and being cared for by "several other little girls."

"When I asked where his diapers were and she looked down and said, 'He doesn’t need them,' and then he immediately peed in his pants right there on the conference chair and started crying," Binford said. "So children are being required to care for other very young children and they are simply not prepared to do that."

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