It’s well-known that people being detained at centers on the U.S.-Mexico border are being forced to live in horrible situations. But now CNN has obtained emails that reveal that U.S. Customs officials and Border Patrol agents tried to humiliate a gay Honduran man by allegedly forcing him to hold a sign which said “Me gustan los hombre(s) (I like men.)”
The emails were sent by an agent to his supervisor and they detail the March 5 incident in which the man was paraded through a migrant detention center in Texas.
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And according to the emails, this is just one of many instances of awful behavior on the part of CBP officials that was witnessed by the CBP agent. The emails also note officials failed to act on the cruel behavior.
The agent, who was on duty at the El Paso Processing Center alleged in the emails that he saw another official give a hand-written sign to the Honduran man and ordered him to walk in front of other detainees who were incarcerated. At this point, the man who sent the emails approached the colleague who wrote it and another agent who was laughing. The witnessing agent chided the men for their unprofessional behavior the emails say. However, neither agent responded.
Now the witnessing agent could tell this man was upset so he took the sign away and provided him with one that wasn’t derogatory.
Sadly the witnessing agent’s supervisors did nothing, CommonDreams reports.
“The first thing that came to my mind was a man named Hans Beimler who was forced to wear a humiliating sign in 1933, during the first weeks that Dachau was open in Nazi Germany,” Andrea Pitzer, the author of “One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps” said in an email to CommonDreams.
She also said the details about Beimler’s situation (which she reported on in her book) were similar to what CNN reported in this case and shocking parallels like this are likely to continue because of President Donald Trump’s treatment of immigrants.
“Whether the abuse is low-grade or rises to actual sexual assault, the point is the same,” she said. “Guards are trying to assert total control over detainees and to demonstrate that there’s nothing they can do to protect themselves.”
The allegations of abuse by border guards were revealed by ProPublica in a report earlier this week that uncovered a closed Facebook group for current and former Border Patrol agents, some of whom joked about migrant deaths and were otherwise openly misogynistic about Latina lawmakers.
This just broke: a secret Facebook group of 9,500 CBP officers discussed making a GoFundMe for officers to harm myself & Rep. Escobar during our visit to CBP facilities & mocked migrant deaths.
This isn’t about “a few bad eggs.” This is a violent culture. https://t.co/SkFwThHElx
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 1, 2019
And really just how awful of a human being do you have to be to victimize innocent people who can do nothing to defend themselves?
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan announced on Twitter that his opening an investigation into the offensive posts “that allegedly includes active Border Patrol personnel.”
I have directed an immediate investigation, and as the @USBPChief has made clear, any employee found to have compromised the public’s trust in our law enforcement mission will be held accountable. They do not represent the men and women of the Border Patrol or @DHSgov.
— Acting Sec. Kevin McAleenan (@DHSMcAleenan) July 3, 2019
Let’s hope he doesn’t let these heartless people get away with this.
Featured image courtesy of the video above