U.S. Immigration Policy Kills

So, a local government cooperates with ICE and subcontracts with a private prison company to detain immigrant families.  What could go wrong.

Well, for one thing sub-par care of a two-year that results in her death.  From the notice of the claim:

On March 1, 2018, Ms. Juárez, a citizen of Guatemala, and her then-19-month-old daughter, Mariee, crossed the Rio Grande into southern Texas. Ms. Juárez feared for her and Mariee’s lives and safety in Guatemala, and they had fled to seek asylum in the United States. On their apprehension near the border, mother and daughter were temporarily detained at a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol immigration processing center, then transferred together to the South Texas Family Residential Center at Dilley, Texas (“Dilley”), four days later.

Mariee was a normal, healthy, happy child when she arrived in the United States.  She had never had any significant medical problems or chronic medical conditions. The medical personnel who processed Mariee for intake at Dilley on March 5, 2018, also noted no current illnesses or health problems before clearing her for custody.

At Dilley, Ms. Juárez and Mariee were assigned to a single room with five other mothers, each with a child. Several children were ill. One boy, who was around Mariee’s age, had a constant cough and runny nose, and was very lethargic. Ms. Juárez learned from the boy’s mother that he had fallen ill at Dilley. His mother had sought medical attention for her son, taking him to the clinic very early in the morning, but the two were sent back to the housing area without being seen at that time.

Ultimately, the mother and daughter were released and sent to New York via New Jersey.  Here’s what happened when they reached New Jersey.

By the time mother and daughter arrived in New Jersey after midnight, early in the morning of March 26, 2018, Mariee’s condition was dire. Hours later, after sunrise on March 26, Ms. Juárez took Mariee to a pediatrician, who said that Mariee’s lungs had stiffened and that she was having difficulty breathing. After four hours of trying various treatments to get Mariee’s lungs to open up, Ms. Juárez and Mariee were sent home with additional medications and instructions to seek emergency medical attention if Mariee’s condition deteriorated further.

But by then it was too late. Hours later, on the evening of March 26, Mariee was admitted to the emergency room, where she presented in acute respiratory distress with a critically low blood oxygen level of 85%, requiring continuous supplemental oxygen. Shortly after admission, Mariee was moved to the Special Care Unit with a diagnosis of viral bronchiolitis versus pneumonia. She tested positive for adenovirus and parainfluenza 3. Over the next six weeks, Mariee was transferred to two different hospitals for increasingly specialized care due to her progressive respiratory failure, requiring a ventilator and later an advanced life support device (ECMO) used in dire situations.

Mariee’s condition steadily worsened, and she died on May 10, 2018, following a catastrophic intrathoracic hemorrhage that resulted in irreversible brain and organ damage with no hope of survival. The cause of death was identified as bronchiectasis, pulmonitis, and pneumothorax (collapsed lung).

This is what happens when a nation falls prey to a demagogue.


20 thoughts on “U.S. Immigration Policy Kills”

  1. To be clear, I have essentially zero respect for Trump and (to drop all pretenses and just be blatantly racial) I really like brown people. If it were up to me, I would throw the doors wide open. Our cocaine spending is part of the reason their countries are such fucking disasters, so I think we have something of a moral obligation to welcome brown people even apart from my basic positive opinion of them.

    With that disclaimer lodged, and with the further disclaimer that I am not yet a doctor… I'm not totally sure I follow the causation chain here. Croup due to adenovirus and parainfluenza virus is typically a self-limited viral illness AFAIK. We send our children to day care centers knowing full well that they have a higher chance of getting croup due to the exposure to other children. Some day care centers make some basic attempt to keep sick kids away from other kids, but really, who are we kidding here. If I send my child to a crowded day care center and they become one of the very unlucky few to die of the croup, did my parenting policy kill them? I mean I guess it did, but what is the real moral force of that statement?

    Maybe I am being small-minded, and as I said I am definitely not a doctor yet. Convince me.

    1. Yes, I have to say I am surprised to see, on RBC of all places, an ideological post (even one I agree with) that so blatantly relies on the "post hoc, ergo propter hoc" fallacy. Is there even a statistical increase in illnesses (or fatal illnesses) occurring in the children subjected to this cruel and evil policy, as compared with other children of their same socio-economic circumstances? One anecdote, no matter how sad, does not suggest that there is.

      1. I didn't see where Stuart Levine drew any statistical conclusions. What you call "one anecdote" is, in fact, a detailed write-up of how the President's policy led directly to the death of a previously healthy child. Led directly, for sure, because were it not for that policy the healthy child would not have been forced to live in close and continual proximity to the unhealthy child.

        The fact that the mother was unable to distance herself and her child from the other five families *in the same room* was not an accident of her financial status or her mental health or her education level. It was totally out of her control, once she had decided to seek asylum here.

        Immigration policy my ass! It's a policy of disdain, pure and simple.

        1. One anecdote and "detailed write-up" mean the same thing dude, the only difference is there is a quality descriptor and format specification for the second one. When you say "in fact" you seem to be implying they aren't synonyms, when they are.

          I agree that it is a description of a policy that led to the death of a child. Ambulances driven on freeways by good, sober liberals in service to a noble cause can also directly lead to the death of a child, and in fact do. This poor little girl was seen by a bona fide US licensed pediatrician before her condition appeared to warrant hospitalization. This is an awful, sad story, but were are talking about transmission of viruses that children are rife with. You have probably had an adenovirus infection yourself recently… when was the last time you had pinkeye? When you had it, did you call the local elementary school and demand that it be shut down? It was concentrating children while adenovirus was in town, where were you then? This isn't like the bubonic plague making its way through an internment camp while the management debates whether or not Mexican lives are worth buying some streptomycin.

          Of all of the arguments against detention facilities for migrants, "kids can get croup there" is just about the weakest sauce imaginable. Kids can get croup anywhere there are other kids. Period. You don't win baseball by swinging at every. single. pitch. You also don't convince any observers that you are playing a solid game of baseball, or have any particular idea of what you are doing.

        2. It is also relevant that the USG has oh-so-conveniently prevented both any sort of reasonable statistics-taking, nor oversight by trustworthy NGOs. All we get, are anecdotes, and this is by design: not a bug, but a feature

          Maybe these cases are the only ones. Maybe. We don't know, do we? What we -do- know, is that there seem to be a number of cases where toddlers/babies have been left in their own shit/urine, emerge covered with lice, never having been bathed, etc. Again: maybe those reported cases are the only ones.

          But. I'm sure it's been said better someplace: when a large bureaucracy makes it impossible for outsiders to exercise oversight, and then a few really bad anecdotes leak out, assume that those anecdotes are the tip of the iceberg, not just statistical noise

          1. OK, I'll try briefly once again: When a large bureaucracy (in charge of powerless humans) hides all data, stymies all third-party oversight, and in general makes it impossible to verify anything about its operation, YOU CAN BE SURE that whatever bad anecdotal cases emerge, are the tip of the iceberg: that there is a massive geyser of awfulness being capped and hidden from public view. And when people take those few cases that emerge, as EVIDENCE that there's nothing more going on, that these few cases are the WORST it can get, well, there's a term for people like that …..

            There, does that help?

          2. Y'see now, this is why, when you claim that you're anti-Trump etc, nobody believes you. B/c a classic tactic of people arguing in bad faith, is to minimize, and to cherry-pick. It's not just one girl getting the croup, that was reported, O Sun King. There has been a steady series of articles about children being reunited and found to be covered in lice, not having been bathed for weeks, psychologically scarred, etc. And older children reporting that the younger children caged with them were left uncared-for.

            And with that, I really -am- done. B/c you're a Trumpist, and there's no point in arguing with Trumpists.

    2. Uh, remember: "crossing the border" is now a crime. I believe "crossing the border after having been deported" is now deemed a greater crime. Now, one might argue "but we have no evidence that the Admin is using such <<crimes>> as their reason for not reuniting". Per my comment above, we really do need to assume the worst.

      Also, why aren't these children being repatriated to their countries of origin, where their home countries can arrange reunification? I mean, if it's about the children's welfare, that ought to be happening, right?

  2. The NY Times today has an editorial about Trump's child kidnappings; it's good to see that the media have not totally forgotten the matter. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/30/opinion/family…. It reports on the horrific effects that the kidnappings have had on the children who have been returned.

    It also mentions something that I've read in other reports but never seen commented on: "A few dozen have parents who have been deemed ineligible for reunification because of criminal records or other circumstances. (Disqualifying offenses include drug-possession charges, ID violations and drunken-driving convictions.)" Surely no law permits the U.S. government to remove children because of such criminal charges (even if the parents have been convicted after having been afforded due process, which there is no indication that they have). How dare government employees presume to determine parents' fitness and remove their children, presumably permanently! Is the ACLU fighting this? Again, I've not seen a word in the media beyond the bare facts that I just quoted.

    1. Perhaps the government employees are not in fact determining that the parents are unfit. Rather, they may be looking for any excuse available to perpetuate as many of the kidnappings as they can.

      I hope that some state attorneys' general will look into filing kidnapping charges against the perpetrators, from Trump on down. They could argue that the seizures of children were not done under color of federal law, but were legally no different from ordinary kidnappings.

      1. The Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution prevents state and local criminal prosecution of federal officers for conduct in the performance of their duties. Any such charges would be immediately "removed" to federal court, and there, probably dismissed. This principle was established prior to the Civil War, when states like Wisconsin tried to arrest U.S. Marshals for kidnapping when they sought to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act. You may not like it, but legally you are wrong.

        1. But I suggested that the seizures were not done under color of federal law, which would distinguish them from enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act. Suppose Trump had ordered the murder of immigrant children instead of their kidnapping. Would that be subject to prosecution under state murder statutes?

          1. The problem, I suspect, is that you're arguing the case rather than the venue. The decision of whether the actions of the marshals were legal is different than the question of whether they were performing their duties. If the order came down their chain of command, then I think their conduct, including whether it was a lawful order, would have to be judged in Federal Court.

          2. I'm sorry, Jarndyce, but you don't understand the meaning of the expression "under color of law." It precisely describes and covers the kind of case you postulate. And no, a state prosecutor could not bring the case against the President of the United States that you describe (no matter how much you or I may dislike him).

        2. Yeah. I am about as loud and committed an advocate of the police as you can find in our times, but there were times in our history in which I would have, with no moral reservation, waited for federal marshals in the tall grass and shot them in the back. It is always fun to remind constitution worshippers of such things, as so often they seem to have forgotten. The slave power erred when it chose to avail itself of its rats to use the legal system in the north to work its evil. As a merchant in Boston famously wrote after the marshals came for a runaway who had become a well-liked member of the local community (I am paraphrasing) "we went to bed compromise whigs and woke up as stark-raving mad abolitionists." The Lord works in mysterious ways.

  3. It appears it's not merely one child with the croup. https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/sex-abuse-clai

    "The Trump administration is under increasing pressure to speed up the reunification of immigrant families it separated at the Mexican border, following allegations three youngsters were sexually abused while in U.S. custody. … The government of El Salvador said the three, ages 12 to 17, were victimized at shelters in Arizona, and it asked the U.S. to make their return a priority."

    And of course, there have been other reports, both of sexual abuse and other sorts of abuse.

    1. This is, either deliberately or by omission, part of the design of the "zero-tolerance" policy. The administration has indicated its intent to make crossing the border without documents a worse experience than staying under the conditions people are currently fleeing.

      1. I read elsewhere that these past months, CBP have targeted families crossing the border, diverting resources from detaining individuals crossing alone. In short, yes as you say, the goal is to terrorize people into not bringing their children with them. As in "you cross with your kids, you're gonna lose 'em, and nobody'll ever know what happened to 'em". It's depraved, the subordination of actually-existing children to policy goals. Regardless of what those goals are.

Comments are closed.