In a complaint against U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a 15-year-old reported that a CBP official punched him and hit him with a thorny branch, leaving a scar; when the child told the official that he was a minor, the official replied, “I don’t care, you son of a bitch.” Graphic: ACLU

By Luke Darby
25 May 2018

(GQ) – The Trump administration called immigrant children future criminals on the same day Border Patrol was accused of sexually and physically abusing child detainees.

In April of 2017, when Donald Trump ordered his first missile strike in Syria, the president said that he was moved by the images of children killed in suspected chemical attacks. It was a rare moment of Trump being moved by compassion, and it hasn't been replicated.

Now the Trump administration, and John Kelly in particular, have been criticized for its decision to break up families crossing the border illegally, and for their careless planning about what to do with those children one they're shoved into detention centers on military bases. But Trump is doubling down, claiming that those children are nothing more than criminals in the future. Per the Washington Post:

Immigrant advocates have long said that the children, primarily from Central America, are fleeing violence in their home countries and seeking safe harbor in the United States. But the Trump administration has used their plight to justify cracking down on policies that allow these migrants to be released and obtain hearings before immigration judges, rather than being deported immediately.

“We have the worst immigration laws of any country, anywhere in the world,” Trump said at the roundtable held at the Morrelly Homeland Security Center. “They exploited the loopholes in our laws to enter the country as unaccompanied alien minors.”

Trump added: “They look so innocent. They’re not innocent.” [c.f. Trump’s long history of referring to nonwhite groups he sees as dangerous as ‘animals’ and Children of Men, ten years later. –Des]

Trump's not alone in thinking that. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein claimed that the gang activity that happened during his tenure U.S. attorney for Maryland was fueled by undocumented children. According to Rosenstein, those children roam the streets like Oliver Twist until they're absorbed into criminal organizations. "We’re letting people in who are creating problems. We’re letting people in who are gang members. We’re also letting people in who are vulnerable." […]

On the same day that Trump and Rosenstein explained why children have to be treated as a national security threat, the ACLU released a report detailing a long history of child abuse at detention centers for immigrants. According to 30,000 pages of documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, the ACLU alleges that Customs and Border Patrol officials are responsible for sexual abuse, physical assault, and denial of medical care, clean water and food. [more]

Trump on Abused Immigrant Children: "They're Not Innocent"

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