This week, a group of Democratic members of Congress toured detention centers on the U.S.-Mexico border and reported abhorrent conditions—including women crowded into small cells without water or access to showers, sick children sleeping on concrete floors and the continuing separation of families. ProPublica also reported on a private Facebook group for Border Patrol agents which included racist, xenophobic and sexist posts and violent threats against women members of Congress, such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Black women spoke up in response.
In a statement, In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda President and CEO Marcela Howell condemned “the racist, sexist and inhumane attacks against immigrants by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents.”
The conditions in detention centers along the U.S.-Mexico border constitute crimes against humanity and must be remedied immediately. But to fix them, we first must end the culture of hate running rapidly through Border Patrol personnel.
“The problems with Customs and Border Patrol did not start with the Trump administration—however, they have exponentially worsened under the leadership of a racist, sexist and xenophobic president. Trump’s unrelenting rants against Central and South Americans, his consistent dehumanization of Brown people, have emboldened racists within Customs and Border Patrol to act on his words.
The real crisis at our southern border is the human rights violations in these detention centers. Every American with simple basic compassion should rise up and demand and end to these inhumane conditions. We must stop this administration’s campaign to decimate families and destroy immigrants’ lives.
“As Black women, we understand how it feels to be stripped of our rights,” Howell concluded. “We know the pain of having our children torn from our arms. We are intimately familiar with the systematic attacks on our rights, our families and our lives. We stand in solidarity with immigrants and all people of color in demanding that America live up to its promise of liberty and justice for all.”