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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 1/16/19

GOP House members reprimand racist Steve King--while silent on systemic child abuse by Border Patrol

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Message Jeanine Molloff

Right now, GOP House members are congratulating themselves as they voted with the Democratic majority to pass a resolution 'disapproving' of Iowa GOP Rep. Steve King's most recent racist and anti-immigrant tirades. Majority Whip, Rep. James Clyburn, D-SC, introduced the resolution, which reads: "the House of Representatives once again rejects White nationalism and White supremacy as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to the values that define the people of the United States."

(Source: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/house-overwhelmingly-passes-resolution-condemning-iowa-gop-rep-king-s-n958986.)

Earlier this week, GOP House leaders stripped King of his committee assignments, and Iowa Senators Joni Ernst-R and Chuck Grassley-R demanded that King resign his House seat. (Source: https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/editorials/2019/01/15/steve-king-should-resign-des-moines-register-iowas-sake-white-supremacy-nationalism-immigration/2581889002/.)

All of this pseudo-ethical hand-wringing sounds very sincere, yet where were these moral 'icons' when a little Latina girl died while in Border Patrol custody? This baby died while under the care of Customs and Border Patrol (CPB), for no other reason than being undocumented--and Latina.

--Say Her Name

Her name was Jakelin Caal Maquin and she was an undocumented child migrant from Guatemala. She was 7-years-old when she died on December 8, 2018, 17 days before Christmas. The cause of her death was attributed to food deprivation and severe dehydration, followed by sepsis. This is a particularly painful and miserable way to die. During the process, extreme nausea and fatigue set in, along with uncontrollable diarrhea and convulsions. Dehydration often renders the body too weak to fight any infection. It is at this time that sepsis sets in and all major organs shut down. This scenario also represents the alternative method used by the Nazi war machine to murder innocent people--including children--when they didn't feel like paying for the cost of poison gas--or bullets.

--Contacting National GOP Leader Senator Roy Blunt's DC office

I knew that this was a case of unquestionable child abuse, so I contacted my US Senator to challenge his habitual silence on Trump's xenophobic and cruel policies. I was armed with facts documenting a historic pattern of criminal abuse and subsequent cover-ups coming from the US Border Patrol. My research into the accepted practices of the Border Patrol, post-911, revealed systemic abuse of migrants, including infants and young children. The human-rights group known as No More Deaths or No Mas Muertes commissioned a 70-page report documenting these abuses, including 4,130 interviews from 12,895 migrants, including 268 children aged 12 and under. (Source: http://forms.nomoredeaths.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/CultureOfCruelty-full.compressed.pdf.)

The report, "Culture of Cruelty", documented various abuses that occurred from 2008-2011, among which was routine food and water deprivation resulting in severe dehydration, including among young children. Some 863 people reported that they were denied access to water, and 1,402 claimed insufficient access.

The report also cited that children were more frequently denied water than adults.

Many of these people were already diagnosed with moderate to severe dehydration. It was also reported that Border Patrol officers denied food to 2,981 persons. Insufficient or spoiled food was claimed to have been given to 11,384 migrants. It was estimated that only 20% of detained migrants in custody for more than two days received an actual meal. The statistics for emergency medical care are just as grim. Of some 433 reported cases of emergency medical need, only 59 persons received any modicum of emergency care, while 86% of these people were deported without "necessary medical treatment." (Source: http://forms.nomoredeaths.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/CultureOfCruelty-full.compressed.pdf.)

Regardless of immigration status or increased agency authority--child abuse remains a federal felony. This report produced sufficient evidence to contact U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, who is also a member of the National GOP Leadership Team. (Source: http://www.senate.gov/senators/leadership.htm.) In fact, Blunt recently rose to number 4 in the GOP Senate leadership hierarchy. (Source: https://www.stltoday.com/news/national/govt-and-politics/blunt-rises-to-fourth-in-republican-senate-leadership/article_99a5d5ed-5f3b-5f44-a500-0fca970172ac.html.)

I phoned his DC office, both as a journalist and a constituent. My question to a staffer named 'Andrew' was simple. (It should be noted that the staffer in question refused to give his full name or job title. For the record, I did give my name and reason for calling.)

Here is my question regarding a hypothetical situation.

"If a child from a white, Christian family residing in an affluent St. Louis suburb, such as Ladue, Missouri (family home to Bucky Bush), had been deprived of food and water to the point that the child perished from severe dehydration and subsequent sepsis--WOULD THAT CONSTITUTE CHILD ABUSE?"

There was an eerie silence on the phone for a few moments as the staffer attempted to collect himself. The answer I received was consumed with equal portions of politically pragmatic cowardice and moral bankruptcy. Staffer 'Andrew' coldly responded;

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Working as an urban educator for over 25 years--I 'moonlight' as a writer. I write part-time for The Huffington Post and enjoy the task of curmudgeon,(at least where career politicians are concerned). I consider myself a political independent (more...)

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