If you still use the hell-tool that is Facebook, visit Never Again Action‘s page on Tuesday, Dec. 10, for Facebook Live. Maybe you’ll see me!
At 3:30 p.m. EST, protesters will be at the for-profit Wyatt Detention Center in Rhode Island. (That’s the place where a guard drove a truck into protestors in August.) I’ll be there! Earlier, at noon EST (11 a.m. CST), there will be a protest at UMB Bank in Kansas City, Mo., because the bank is suing to force Wyatt to keep imprisoning immigrants under its contract with ICE. Seriously, after local officials moved to stop detaining immigrants in Wyatt, thanks to public pressure, a bank in Missouri was like, “Uh-uh, that will hurt profits.”
I’ve taken part in events organized by Never Again Action since I went to Washington, D.C., for a #JewsAgainstICE action in the summer.
The collaborative efforts by Jewish activists and immmigrant-rights groups to shut down American concentration camps really speaks to me in a way I went into at length in this post from July.
One of the points I made in that post was that not all World War II concentration camps were extermination camps with gas chambers like Auschwitz. In fact, 15-year-old diarist Anne Frank survived in Auschwitz for over a month, only to be transferred to another concentration camp, Bergen-Belsen, where she and her sister died of typhus. That was according to plan. There were no gas chambers in Bergen-Belsen, but tens of thousands of prisoners died of starvation, overwork, and disease. Think it can’t happen here? Just a few days ago, ProPublica — the investigative journalism organization that MrB founded — broke a story with video proof that border patrol personnel let Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez, a 16-year-old Guatemalan boy, die of the flu alone in a cell. Officials then lied about their treatment of him, but they were caught on tape.
This wasn’t some kind of unfortunate, exception-to-the-rule incident. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has been refusing doctors’ requests to give flu vaccines to detained immigrant children who are stressed, poorly fed and clothed, and crammed in together — ideal conditions for a flu epidemic. In a statement, CBP said, in part:
“It has never been a CBP practice to administer vaccines and this not a new policy … Individuals in CBP custody should generally not be held for longer than 72 hours in either CBP hold rooms or holding facilities. … As a law enforcement agency, and due to the short-term nature of CBP holding and other logistical challenges, operating a vaccine program is not feasible.”
This is some George Orwell-worthy level gaslighting because CBP is provably keeping kids longer than the 72 hours it is claiming. Meanwhile, doctors who rallied today outside a detention center in San Ysidro, Calif., said they could vaccinate all 100+ kids in half an hour at the mobile flu station they set up outside the camp. By the way, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended last year that CBP vaccinate detained migrants against the flu virus, but CBP rejected the idea. A government agency is fighting a government agency over medical treatment for children! This is crazy, y’all!
If you are a doctor or if you know a doctor, take a look at/share the website for Doctors for Camp Closure. You can support Never Again Action here. Donations help pay for transportation, art supplies for signs, megaphones for speakers, bail for arrested protestors, and more. One thing that blew me away at the protest in July was the thoughtfulness of the organizers. You know, I’ve stood strong through long hours at a lot of music festivals in intense heat while teenagers faint all around me, but that D.C. humidity … man! I was thinking, “I’m not going to make it,” and then I saw a woman handing out bottles of water and little snacks. That got me through to the end of the action. What service!