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Don't look away -- the horrors at the border are still happening

Esther J. Cepeda on

-- A new lawsuit underscores the corruption in America's deportation apparatus. A woman from Honduras who was living in Connecticut unlawfully was allegedly threatened with deportation and death by an immigration agent who, the woman said, sexually assaulted her for several years, impregnated her three times and paid for an abortion. The lawsuit names the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and a former ICE agent.

-- The Trump administration has new plans to take DNA samples from the hundreds of thousands of people living in detention centers without their consent. The Justice Department says this will help solve crimes, but where does the use of mass surveillance tools and involuntary capture of biometric data stop?

-- Lastly, more walls have captured President Trump's imagination. During a speech last Thursday in Pittsburgh, he told his adoring admirers: "And we're building a wall on the border of New Mexico. And we're building a wall in Colorado. We're building a beautiful wall. A big one that really works -- that you can't get over, you can't get under." Trump later tweeted that his reference to a Colorado wall -- hundreds of miles from the U.S-Mexico border -- was made "kiddingly."

Sure, you could just shrug your shoulders if none of these situations directly affects you. But civil liberties have a way of being eroded when no one's watching. And it's a short hop from how the Trump administration treats immigrants to how it could decide to treat foreign-born U.S. citizens and, then, U.S.-born citizens.

Open your eyes and see what's happening right now. Though none of us can take in the injustices without averting our gazes to regroup and recharge, please turn back. There are still children living in prison-like conditions at the border, if not in literal metal cages. There are still constitutional violations of migrants' rights and other horrors that require our sustained attention and anger -- all the way into November 2020.

 

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Esther Cepeda's email address is estherjcepeda@washpost.com or follow her on Twitter @estherjcepeda.

(c) 2019, Washington Post Writers Group

 

 

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