Dan Moshenberg

Dan Moshenberg is an organizer educator who has worked with various social movements in the United States and South Africa.

How many times must we `discover’ Brook House is a hellhole before shutting it down?

Yesterday, July 22, 2019, the U.K. National Audit Office issued The Home Office’s management of its contract with G4S to run Brook House immigration removal centre, a report requested in response to a tv documentary, on BBC Panorama, aired September 1, 2017 that, using undercover footage, showed the abuse and worse heaped by staff on immigrant detainees at Brook House, a “notorious” Immigration Removal Center near Gatwick Airport. The Home Affairs Select Committee requested the report in March 2019. It took a year and a half for the abuse to make any difference whatsoever.

Brook House is “run” by G4S. The auditors “found” that “G4S made £14.3 million [$17.8 million] gross profit on running Brook House between 2012 and 2018.” This single fact has grabbed the headlines: Brook House: “‘G4S made £14m profit from immigration centre’”; “G4S made £14m profit from scandal-hit Brook House removal centre”; “G4S makes £14.3m from scandal-hit immigration centre amid lack of Home Office scrutiny, report finds”. That G4S made huge profits off the misery of people seeking asylum and refuge is not surprising. In 2017, The Guardian reported that G4S earned a 20.7% profit margin at Brook House. There was supposed to be a limit to the profit margin of 6.8%, but what’s a few percentage points among friends. When did stakeholders become shareholders? 

While many will focus on the private prison aspect of the story, the real story, and news, is in the contract, designed and approved by the State. According to the design of that contract: “The abuses documented in BBC’s September 2017 Panorama were not a contractual breach and did not lead to substantial penalties under the contract. Under the contract, the Home Office can only award deductions for specific incidents of underperformance. Inappropriate use of force or verbal abuse of detainees are not counted as a performance failure under the contract. The Home Office and G4S’s investigation of the footage counted 84 incidents. Most of these were either already reported or were not required to be reported under the contract … The Home Office concluded that the behaviour depicted in Panorama did not constitute evidence of systemic failures or a material breach of the contract and that it was not necessary to try to terminate G4S’s contract.”

Use of force or verbal abuse of detainees are not counted as a performance failure under the contract. The Panorama documentary alone had 84 instances of use of force or verbal use. According to the auditors, many others occurred regularly throughout the period under review. Use of force and verbal abuse was systemic but not a sign of systemic failure … because under the terms of the contract abuse of immigrants by State, be they public or private agents, is not failure. It’s success.

When stakeholders become shareholders, asylum seekers and refugees become prisoners, hostage to a global economy in which their abuse is a sign of success and a victory for something called “justice”. Brook House has been repeatedly designated a hellhole, and yet, there it is, still standing, still regularly being “discovered” by the media, the State, and everyone else who refuses to listen to the reports of migrants. How many times must we `discover’ Brook House is a hellhole before shutting it down?  How many times must we `discover’ the architecture of our intensifying inhumanity before we tear down the walls and build a new house?

(Photo Credit 1: BBC) (Photo Credit 2: Left Food Forward)

Saturday’s factory fire in New Delhi was a planned massacre of women workers

The fire that killed three workers

A factory fire broke out Saturday, July 13, in a hardware factory in the Jhilmil industrial area, in New Delhi. Three workers were killed: Manju Devi, 50 years old, mother of five; Sangeeta Devi, 46 years old, mother of three; Shoaib Ali, 19 years old, one of two children. The Jhilmil industrial area is 20 some miles from the Bawana Industrial Area, where a fire broke out January 2018 in a firecracker factory. An hour by car, more or less, separates the two factory zones. A year and a half separate the two fires. In that year and a half, absolutely nothing has been done to ameliorate the conditions of factory workers in New Delhi. As was the case in Bawana, Saturday’s factory fine in New Delhi was a planned massacre of workers, the majority of whom were women.

For a couple days there was news coverage. The two brothers who owned the factory have been arrested. The factory license had expired and so the factory had no license. The factory had no “firefighting measures.” The fire was massive, the brothers were negligent. The stories of each of the three murdered workers are plaintive and heart rending. In other words, this “tragedy” is precisely like the earlier “tragedies”. Add the Jhilmil industrial area to the list of factory fire “tragedies”: Bawana Industrial Area,India: Tangerang, Indonesia;  Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, United States; Kader Toy Factory, Thailand; Zhili Handicraft Factory, China; Tazreen Fashions Factory, Bangladesh; Kentex Manufacturing Corporation, Philippines; House Technologies Industries, Philippines. The sacrificial pyre built of women’s bodies continues to grow and light up the night sky of global economic development. 

The Jhilmil factory had no license because it didn’t have to have a license: “The factory was operating in the area of 110 sq metres and a fire NoC [No objection Certificate] is not required for the area below 250 sq metre as per norms.” According to some estimates, “around 90% of units in industrial areas of Delhi lack fire safety norms.” Some of those factories are in violation of the law, but the vast majority aren’t. They are “per norms”. That is, respectively, they comprise individual areas of less than 250 square meters, and so don’t need any license. The majority of factories in New Delhi’s industrial zones are less than 250 square meters in area. Per norms. That’s the law. That’s how it is. Saturday’s factory fire in New Delhi was a planned massacre of workers, the majority of whom were women, and the planners of that massacre are factory owners, the State, and all who looked the other way, or better, see and construct a world “per norms” in which people who work in larger factories have some value, are collectively worth the cost of a fire extinguisher and an alarm, and those, the majority, who work in the smaller factories, the `informal’ factories, they are less than dirt, less than the ash that fills the air and covers the earth after a massive fire. Saturday’s factory fire in New Delhi was a planned massacre of workers, the majority of whom were women. It won’t be the last such massacre.

(Photo Credit: The Hindu / R. V. Moorthy)

In France, women demand an end to femicide now, without delay!

On Saturday, the French women’s organization Féminicides par compagnons ou ex reported a woman in Perpignan had been killed by her partner on Friday, July 5. That murder raised the number of women killed by partners this year in France to 74. Thanks to the work of various women’s organizations, for the past few days French media have been filled with articles concerning women killed by current and ex-partners, femicide, and the complete inaction of the State. On Saturday, tens of thousands of women and supporters protested in the streets of Paris. According to Nous Toutes, on Saturday, over 60,000 women and supporters across France protested and demanded action on Saturday. Today, the French press reported that, on Saturday, July 6, a woman in Yvelines, not far from Paris, was killed by her partner, raising the death toll to 75. The French government responded that they would start doing something in September. Why wait until September? Because August is vacation. Nous Toutes replied, “Monsieur le Président, les violences ne prennent pas de vacances. Nous ne pouvons pas attendre le 3 septembre. Des mesures peuvent être prises avant l’été pour faire cesser les féminicides.” Violence does not take a vacation. 

Tomorrow, women will go to the police to file complaints that will be refused.” 

In 2016, 123 women in France were killed by their current or former partners. Their complaints were refused. In 2017, 130 women in France were killed by their partners or ex partners. Their complaints were refused. Prominent women and women unknown to the public agree, “It’s a massacre.” Their assessment is refused. According to Féminicides par compagnons ou ex, last week alone, four women were killed by their current or former partners. Their complaints were refused. Gülçin Kaplan lodged five formal complaints against her former husband. Police did nothing, and in doing nothing refused those complaints. In January, Gülçin Kaplan was stabbed to death by her former husband. That was January. 

The women are killed by their current or former partners. The murderers are covered, embraced, supported and protected by the State. This happens everywhere. In England, rape survivors are disbelieved and viciously, intrusively cross examinedIn Indonesia, a woman provides damning evidence of her employer’s sexual harassment, and she’s sentenced to six months in jail. And that’s just from today’s news. Women are assaulted with impunity by their partners because their partners have been given immunity by the State. While France is not exceptional, the mobilization by women in France remains noteworthy.

Across France, women are saying, first, that femicide exists in France and that it must be included in French law. As of now, femicide is considered a “sociological” phenomenon, not a legal or criminal oneWomen are saying that femicide exists in France, and the State must stop claiming it never imagined such things could happen “at home”Across France, women are saying that words are fine, but concrete and immediate actions are demanded, and they point to Spain’s recent engagements with femicide, engagements in concrete policy implementationsAcross France, women are saying, “Never again!” and “Stop the massacre!” Across France, women are demanding an emergency plan that recognizes the urgency of the massacre, of the threat to women’s daily lives and futuresAcross France, women are demanding to know what exactly is the value of a woman’s life.

Across France, women are demanding action now. September is too late to start a “national debate”. In fact, July is too late for that debate. The time for action is now, because tomorrow, a woman will go to the police files complaints that will be refused.

(Photo Credit 1: France Culture / Denis Meyer / Hans Lucas / AFP)

(Photo Credit 2: Panorama)

Today is July 4, 2019: There is nothing to celebrate here

Yesterday, July 3, 2019, the American Academy of Pediatrics released the drawings below, done by children who had been held, caged, in immigrant detention centers on the U.S. Southern Border. The AAP said, simply, “The American Academy of Pediatrics believes no time in detention is healthy or safe for children.”

Today is July 4, 2019. There is nothing to celebrate here.

(Photo Credits: American Academy of Pediatrics / Facebook)

In Sudan, “this revolution is women’s revolution!”

In Sudan, on December 19, 2018, people took to the streets to protest a precipitous rise in bread prices. Since then, protests have persisted and grown. As so often in food uprisings, the price of food was the visible spark that revealed an undergrowth of fire, and, as so often, women of Sudan set and sustained the sparkOn June 3, freedom loving, democracy building people, `civilians’, `protesters’ were butchered by the so-called Rapid Support Forces, or RSF, under the leadership of Mohamed Hamdan Dagolo, also known as Hemeti, also known as the Frankenstein of Khartoum.The RSF are also known as the Janjaweed, the group that terrorized Darfur for years, with particularly brutal violence against women. Killing at least 128 people, brutalizing everyone, raping women en masse, was meant to intimidate the masses, especially the women, into silence and submission. It didn’tOn June 30, in response to a call for a “millions march”, hundreds of thousands of people hit the streets. Eleven people were killed. On Monday, a call was issued for mass civil disobedience on July 14. Your news media may or may not be covering these events, but, in Sudan, the revolution continues, and, in Sudan, this revolution is women’s revolution: “Throughout Sudan’s ongoing revolution, women have led the chants for freedom, justice and peace.” Women have led and women are leading.

While Sudanese women attach a multitude of meanings and aspirations to freedom, justice and peace, they are united and uniform in their insistence that the military step down and turn over power to civilian authority. To that end, the women are united in their determination that the movement in Sudan for freedom, justice and peace is a revolutionary movement. That means that those who committed atrocities, and particularly those who used rape and other forms of sexual violence and intimidation as a weapon of State, will be held accountable. While many women differ on what sorts of freedom they want, for women, for everyone, they are clear and united in the determination that this is the moment to broaden and deepen the space(s) for freedom, for women and for everyone. 

For 30 years, Sudanese women have organized and mobilized to end the dictatorship and to establish a just, egalitarian, democratic, free society and nation-State. For 30 years, women in Sudan have refused to sit down, shut up, disappear. When the current regime shut the internet, women opened windows and doors, as they have done for the past three decades. In Sudan, today, women are organizing, mobilizing, chanting, singing, refusing to be shut down or shut out, demanding freedom, chanting, “Long live the struggle of Sudanese women!” “This revolution is women’s revolution!”

(Photo Credit 1: Reuters) (Photo Credit 2: BBC / EPA)

What happened to Robin Arraj? Cuyahoga County “Justice”

The Cuyahoga County Jail, located in the Cuyahoga County Justice Center in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, is a bad place. It’s “problem-plagued” and marked by “inmate deaths and inhumane conditions”. Today, people protested the “inhumane” conditions as well as Cuyahoga County’s failure to do anything about those conditions. It was the U.S. Marshals who described the conditions as “inhumane”. That was November 2018. Eight people died in that jail in 2018. A woman prisoner fell in a puddle of water from a leak that had gone on for days. No one did anything about the leak. The prisoner, Tammy Decosta, fell, hit her head, told officials she was having trouble with her eyesight, officials did nothing. Tammy Decosta is now legally blind… and suing the county. Prisoners are strapped to chairs and beaten. The beatings are videotaped. Nothing happens. This is Cuyahoga County Jail, where Robin Arraj “died” in 2017. Last week, Robin Arraj’s family sued the Cuyahoga County Jail, located in the “Justice” Center. What happened to Robin Arraj? Justice.

Terrance Dubose is 47 years old and lives with mental illness. He is an inmate at Cuyahoga County Jail. On July 16, 2018, he was strapped to a chair and beaten, punched in the face numerous times. He was left in that chair for hours. The officer who punched him did the same thing to a woman prisoner, Chantelle Glass, in 2012. Nothing happened to that officer. Terrance Dubose is still housed in Cuyahoga County Jail. Robin Arraj is still dead.

In June 2017 Robin Arraj, 51 years old, entered Cuyahoga County Jail. She was supposed to stay there three days. Three days. She “was found unresponsive” on her first day in the jail. Robin Arraj was living with and being treated for opioid addiction. She was prescribed methadone. She informed the staff of her medical needs. The State “failed”, refused, to give Robin Arraj treatment, and so she went into withdrawal, became hypertensive, and “was found unresponsive”, one day into a three-day sentence. 

The Cuyahoga County Jail determined that Robin Arraj died “of natural causes.” There was nothing natural in her death. The overcrowding of the jail was not natural. The “inhumane” conditions were not natural. The refusal to provide appropriate treatment are not natural. They’re criminal.Now lawmakers call for reform, intensified oversight, and unprecedented scrutiny. Where were they during the years of institutional inhumanity and violation of Constitutional and human rights as well as dignity and decency? Nowhere to be seen. And so, as so often, it is left to the family and other loved ones to carry the burden, to sue the State to get a little bit of justice in the name of their loved ones who were sacrificed on our modern-day altars. What happened to Robin Arraj? Absolutely nothing out of the ordinary. Cuyahoga County Justice happened, and it’s happening across the United States.

(Photo Credit: Cleveland.com)

From February 2018 to May 2019, four women have died at HMP Styal. Who cares?

“In the United Kingdom, forty per cent of sentenced women serve three months or less, and yet somehow manage to `harm themselves’ at a rate of three incidents per inmate. Women prisoners’ self harm is neither epidemic nor outbreak. It’s life. It’s part of the harm of being a woman in a neoliberal political economy. The Corston Report: a review of women with particular vulnerabilities in the criminal justice system, a review of women with particular vulnerabilities in the U.K. criminal justice system, said as much in March, 2007. Behind the Corston Commission Report sits HMP Styal, `one of the largest women’s prisons’ in the U.K. Between August 2002 and August 2003, six women died at Styal … That was then. This is now. February 27, 2009:  `The chief inspector of prisons has warned of more deaths at Styal women’s prison if services for vulnerable inmates do not improve…. John Gunn, brother of Lisa Marley, who died at Styal in January last year, asked: `How many more women have to die before something is done?’” That was then, ten years ago, to the day. This is today: From February 2018 to May 2019, four women have died at HMP Styal: Nicola Birchall, 41, February 2018; Imogen Mellor, 29, June 2018; Christine MacDonald, 56, March 2019; Susan Knowles, 48, May 2019. None of the deaths was treated as suspicious. BBC News reports, “The latest HM Inspectorate of Prisons’ report, in May 2018, was positive.” 

Here is what “positive” looks like: “95% of women said that they had problems on arrival. 53% said they had a problem with illicit drugs on arrival and 27% had an alcohol problem. 72% reported having a mental health problem. There were 735 incidents of self-harm in the six months to March 2018. Four women were transferred under the Mental Health Act in the six months to March 2018. 65% of women released who were not on home detention curfew did not have sustainable accommodation. Some women had been in and out of custody up to 11 times in 12 months.” Positive.

According to the most recent Safety in Custody Statistics, England and Wales, the general picture for incarcerated women, including remand prisoners, is equally grim: “Self-harm trends differ considerably by gender, with a rate of 570 incidents per 1,000 in male establishments (with incidents up 25% on the previous year) compared to a rate of 2,675 per 1,000 in female establishments (an increase of 24% in the number of incidents from the previous year). In the 12 months to December 2018, the number of self-harm incidents per self-harming prisoner was 4.0 for males, and 8.3 for females, increases from 3.5 and 7.0 respectively in 2017.” The majority of self-harm happens to those who have been in custody 31 days to 3 months. 

The latest Inspectorate report on HMP Styal was positive concerning the prison’s attempt to follow recommendations from earlier reports, but the situation remains dire, and that’s the point. The individual deaths of Nicola Birchall, Imogen Mellor, Christine MacDonald, and Susan Knowles are suspicious, as are the high rates of self-harm. 

In 2007, Baroness Corston noted, “There are many women in prison, either on remand or serving sentences for minor, non-violent offences, for whom prison is both disproportionate and inappropriate. Many of them suffer poor physical and mental health or substance abuse or had chaotic childhoods. Many have been in care … I have been dismayed at the high prevalence of institutional misunderstanding within the criminal justice system of the things that matter to women and at the shocking level of unmet need … There can be few topics that have been so exhaustively researched to such little practical effect as the plight of women in the criminal justice system.”

That was 2007, sparked by conditions in HMP Styal. It’s 2019, and still few topics have been so exhaustively researched to such little practical effect as the plight of women in the criminal justice system. Every death, injury, harm, unmet need, vulnerability is suspicious and should be treated as such. What happened to Nicola Birchall, Imogen Mellor, Christine MacDonald, and Susan Knowles? Nothing. There is nothing celebrate here.

(No More Prison)

What happened to Tanya Day? Nothing. Just another Aboriginal woman died in police custody

Tanya Day and her granddaughter

In Australia, for Aboriginal women and their families, the wheels of justice do not turn at all, but they do try to grind the people into dust. On December 22, 2017, Tanya Day, a 55-year-old Yorta Yorta grandmother, “died of traumatic brain injuries” in police custody, in the Castlemaine Police Station, in Victoria, Australia. Next month, the coroner is expected to release her report. Tanya Day’s family and supporters have asked the coroner to consider systemic racism. as a cause of death. If the coroner agrees, a new standard may have been set. Whatever the coroner decides, Tanya Day – like Cherdeena WynneMs Dhu, and scores of other Aboriginal women– did not “die” and was not “discovered”. Tanya Day was killed in police custody. Harrison Day, Tanya Day’s uncle, died in police custody, also in Victoria. Harrison Day died, or was killed, June 23, 1982, 37 years to the day. From 1987 to 1991, the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody met to discuss Harrison Day’s death and those of 99 other Aboriginal women and men. They issued a raft of recommendations, of which more than 30% have never been implemented. After Ms. Dhu’s death in custody, in 2014, promises were made but Western Australia has not introduced a single law emerging from the circumstances of Ms. Dhu’s death. From Harrison Day, in 1982, to Tanya Day, in 2017, to today, the line of murders of Aboriginal women and men in custody is direct and genocidal.

By all accounts, Tanya Day was a vivacious, lively, politically engaged woman. She was an activist who campaigned to stop the deaths of Aboriginal women and men in prison. At the time of her death, she was actively helping the family of Tane Chatfield, a young Indigenous man who died in police custody. She was also on what her family calls a health craze, involving regular exercise and healthy diet. On December 5, 2017, Tanya Day boarded a train to Melbourne. According to her family, she had not been drinking regularly, but on that day, she had. She fell asleep on the train. When the conductor awakened her for her ticket, she was confused. There is no report that she was aggressive. The conductor called the police. The police took her off the train and took Tanya Day to the Castlemaine Police Station. The charge was public drunkenness. The police called the family to come fetch her. By the time they arrived, Tanya Day was hospitalized. She died seventeen days later. 

Tanya Day fell in her cell in the police station five times, which caused traumatic brain injuryShe lay, alone, on the floor for hours. Tanya Day should never have been in that police station. The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody strongly recommended doing away with public drunkenness laws. Subsequent scholarship and experience have supported that recommendation, pretty much uniformly. The laws that criminalize public drunkenness remain on the books. As one human rights advocate noted, “Most Victorians have committed the offence of public drunkenness.” If Tanya Day had been White, she would have been allowed to stay on the train and sleep it off. Even if not, someone who needs assistance to stand belongs in an emergency room, not a police station cell. Australia has known all of this for decades, formally, and has done less than nothing. That kind of inaction is a key ingredient to genocide as to femicide. What happened to Tanya Day? Australia. 

(Photo Credit: ABC News Australia)

In Cambodia, woman farmer Hoy Mai says NO! to the theft and devastation of her land and life!

Hoy Mai

This week, Cambodian woman farmer Hoy Mai has appeared in a Thai court, where she has filed suit against Thai sugar company Mitr Phol, Asia’s largest sugar producer. Hoy Mai, now 56 years old, has been waging a mighty campaign against the Goliath corporation for two decades, a campaign for land, life and justice. This week’s court case is considered a landmark case. If the court decides in Hoy Mai’s favor, thousands of displaced farmers could benefit. The story begins in October 2009, in the northwest province of Oddar Meanchey, in the throes of the Khmer Rouge violence. In one of the most violent areas in Cambodia, Angkor Sugar Company, a subsidiary of Mitr Phol, evicted 119 households. Since that day, Hoy Mai has fought for restitution, first, and justice, for herself and her neighbors.

According to the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, “Hoy Mai’s family and 118 other households in Bos village, Oddar Meanchey province, were forcibly evicted in October 2009 as part of an ELC [Economic Land Concession] granted to Angkor Sugar Company. Their homes were burnt down and they lost all their belongings and farmland. Despite promises that she would receive another plot of land, she received neither land nor compensation, leaving her and her children homeless and destitute. Hoy Mai, at the time five months pregnant, was charged with violation of the Forestry law and jailed for eight months after trying to appeal to the authorities in Phnom Penh. She went into labor in the prison where she was forced to stay for three days and two nights until she was taken to the hospital. Only a few hours after she gave birth to her baby she was taken back to jail. For two months, she nursed her son in the prison with terrible sanitary conditions and sharing the cell with seven other women. Eight months after her detention, Mai was brought before a judge. Instead of a fair trial the court told Mai that she would be released only when she signed an agreement to with- draw all claims to her land in Bos village and accepted replacement land.”

The Khmer Rouge is gone, but the damage remains, as does Mitr Phol. From 2009 to today, Hoy Mai has refused to accept that situation: “We want compensation so we can rebuild our homes and farm our land. We hope the court will give us justice.” Hoy Mai and her attorneys have hit upon the idea of going to Thailand, where Mitr Phol is based, and instituting a class action suit there. Hoy Mai demands compensation, restitution, recognition, acknowledgement, truth and justice. It’s that straightforward.

In 2014, Hoy Mai explained what she and her neighbors wanted and expected from the State: “We want them to help us get our land back so we can live like before.” In 2016, Hoy Mai explained that she and her neighbors planned to return to their own lands: “Whether the governor allows us back or not, we will still go to our land. We are scared, but we have to struggle. We experienced being evicted. So we are not afraid.” This week, Hoy Mai said, “They took our land. I lost everything. My children did not go to school and I had no farming land … I survive by the day … For us, it [the land] is our life.”

In Cambodia, for the past twenty years, woman farmer Hoy Mai has said NO to the theft and devastation of her and her community’s land and lives. Hoy Mai joins rural women and women farmers in PeruIndiaEcuadorLiberiaGhanaMalawi, and around the world in demanding justice not only for herself and her community, but for women farmers and rural women everywhere. Mitr Phol may be the fifth largest sugar producer in the world, but Hoy Mai knows that justice is larger, wider and deeper than any corporation. “For us, it is our life.”

(Photo Credit: Leonie Kijewski / Al Jazeera)

Migrants in Custody at Hospitals Are Treated Like … Felons?

Sometimes a headline says it all, the whole reported story and a great deal more: “Migrants in Custody at Hospitals Are Treated Like Felons, Doctors Say”. The New York Timesreports, today, of the now familiar and yet still jarring brutality the Trump administration, the Nation-State more generally, visits on the bodies and souls of those courageous enough to seek asylum. In this instance, the focus is the abuse directed at “a 20-year-old Guatemalan woman who had been found late last year in the desert — dehydrated, pregnant and already in labor months before her due date.” The treatment by ICE agents is vicious, mean and often illegal. Horrible. But the doctors never actually say the migrants are treated like felons. What is to be made of the phrase, “treated like felons”?

As the article explains, “In many cases, doctors say, their patients are newly arrived asylum seekers, like the Guatemalan woman in Tucson, who had fled violent abuse from her baby’s father back home. Such patients, who are in custody only because of their immigration status, are often subjected to security measures meant for prisoners charged with serious crimes.” Dr. Patricia Lebensohn, a family physician, thinks that constant supervision in a patient’s room “makes sense if you have a prisoner that’s convicted of murder, but this is a different population, especially the asylum seekers. They’re not criminals.”

They’re not criminals, they’re not felons, and so they deserve to be treated as … human beings with Constitutional, legal, civil, and human rights and protections? Is that the implication? This is the common sense that emerges from decades of mass and hyper incarceration. This is a reason that shackling pregnant women, women in childbirth, “makes sense”. They’re criminals, felons. It makes sense for agents to be present during medical examinations, to listen in on conversations with doctors, to watch ultrasounds, to intentionally interfere with sleep, to harangue and harass. It makes sense because they are criminals. It makes sense because they are women, people of color, poor, fleeing violence, begging for mercy and demanding assistance, seeking justice. Criminals and felons, each and every one. This is our common sense, but it doesn’t have to be. Imagine if we treated migrants and felons like people, like ourselves. Another headline is possible.

(Image Credit: ACLU)