The message below went out to Standing on the Side of Love supporters on Monday, September 26, 2011. You can sign-up for these emails here.
Last week, our partner organization No More Deaths released their report documenting 3 years of abuses of migrants by the U.S. Border Patrol. In the last few days, major media outlets have been covering this report and the abuse.
While Border Patrol has responded to the report, we have still not heard anything from the Department of Homeland Security or President Obama, both of whom are ultimately responsible for the conduct of members of the Border Patrol.
In order to make sure these abuses stop, we need to get President Obama to take action.
Can you please sign our petition to President Obama and ask three friends to sign also? Click here to sign:
If you did not see it, our note below from last week provides more background on the No More Deaths report and the 30,000 documented cases of abuse by the Border Patrol.
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Dan Furmansky, Standing on the Side of Love <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, Sep 21, 2011 at 2:48 PM
Subject: 30,000 Documented Abuses of Migrants is Enough
Imagine this: you are an undocumented immigrant who has been detained for deportation in a facility under the custody of the U.S. Border Patrol. You are dehydrated, but denied adequate water to hydrate you. You are famished, but given only crackers as the hours stretch into days. Your cell is overcrowded, unsanitary, and extremely hot. You need your medication, but cannot access it. You are separated from your spouse and do not know where they are, and when you ask, you are subjected to verbal abuse. Finally, you are forced to sign papers you do not fully understand, and “repatriated” to a town that is unfamiliar, in the dead of night, without your cell phone or your personal belongings.
Think this is fiction? Think again.
Today, our partners at No More Deaths/No Mas Muertes released a painstakingly comprehensive report, “A Culture of Cruelty,” about the human rights abuses perpetrated against migrants in the custody of the U.S. Border Patrol. No More Deaths interviewed nearly 13,000 migrants over three years who had been held by the U.S. Border Patrol in three different short-term detention facilities. The findings in the report are staggering. In their interviews, No More Deaths documented more than 30,000 incidents of abuse and mistreatment.
During the processes of apprehension, transportation, detention and deportation, individuals’ basic human rights and dignity are consistently and systematically violated. The problems are systemic, as the types of abuse individuals have reported remain alarmingly consistent, from year to year, from interviewer to interviewer and across interview sites. Psychological, emotional and physical abuse are consistently reported, as are unsafe and unsanitary detention practices. Border Patrol abuse continues, and despite complaints, neither the agency, nor the Department of Homeland Security, which houses the Border Patrol, act to stop it.
These abuses are taking place in the name of the United States Government, under President Obama’s watch, and they must stop! Please join people across the country in lifting up the voices of the thousands of migrants detailed in this report who have suffered human rights abuses.
Click here to sign a petition urging President Obama to acknowledge the severity of the report’s findings and commit to taking action.
Consider these findings:
- 10% of interviewees – including teens and children – reported some form of physical abuse.
- Only 20% of people in custody for more than two days received a meal. Children were more likely to be denied water than adults.
- Of 433 incidents in which emergency medical treatment or medication were needed, medical care was provided in only 59 cases. Only 14% of those in need of medical care prior to deportation were provided it.
- Close to half of all interviewees reported overcrowded processing center conditions, and temperatures maintained at extreme heat or extreme cold. A quarter reported unsanitary or dirty conditions.
- Of 75 complaints filed by No More Deaths since 2008 on behalf of detainees with the Department of Homeland Security, zero have resulted in an identifiable outcome.
The systemic culture of abuse is pervasive, reaching not only undocumented migrants, recently arrived to the United States, but long-term residents and citizens as well— people with homes, jobs, and families in our communities. With this report, No More Deaths and thousands of supporters are shouting together: the culture of cruelty must stop now! It is absolutely vital that Pres. Obama acknowledge and address the findings of this report.
Please sign the petition to Pres. Obama today:
No More Deaths is an all-volunteer, humanitarian organization whose mission is to end death and suffering on the U.S./Mexico border. We are working hard to support their indefatigable efforts of lifting these voices up. This afternoon, UUA President Rev. Peter Morales will offer remarks on a conference call for the press about the report, and this evening, I will speak about the report’s findings at a rally organized by Centro Presente at Boston City Hall, along with UU ministers Revs. Fred Small and Sue Phillips. The Standing on the Side of Love campaign has also solicited the support of other faith leaders to speak out against these documented abuses.
Over the coming weeks, you’ll be hearing more about this report, and how you can help make sure the voices of migrants who have dealt with a harsh and inhumane system of detention are not silenced. For today, please click here to sign the petition to Pres. Obama. It’s urgent we gather thousands of signatures in a short period of time if the Administration is going to take this report seriously.
The abuses found and documented in the report do not stop at the gates of the Border Patrol’s detention facilities. Mistreatment is a core part of the system of detention and deportation that targets immigrant communities all over the country. Together, we can make a change for the better.
With hope for a more humane world,
Standing on the Side of Love
P.S. If you would like to read the report, you can find it here: http://www.cultureofcruelty.org/
P.P.S. A No More Deaths volunteer will be a guest on our immigration webinar this coming Monday @ 4 p.m. Eastern Time. Sign up here if you haven’t already.