When Carlos Hidalgo was detained at the ICE processing center, in Adelanto, California, guards would mock the detainees lined up to get their meals by imitating the call of cows. “Moo! Here are the cows, walking through!”
lsewhere in Florida, a man said a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent threatened him with deportation after he refused to engage in oral sex — and that the officer told him he would be deported to Haiti, even though the man is from the Bahamas. In Texas, a Border Patrol agent driving detainees between detention centers pulled over and let a woman get out after she performed oral sex on him, according to another complaint.
Human Rights Watch found that the number of people detained inside the U.S. rather than at the border — meaning that they were not new arrivals — increased by 42 percent over last year, while immigration arrests of people with no criminal convictions nearly tripled.
A directive to immigration officials across the country to try to portray undocumented immigrants swept up in mass raids as criminals came directly from then-Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, The Intercept has learned. The redacted emails, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by students at Vanderbilt University Law School, show that while hundreds of undocumented immigrants were rounded up across the country, DHS officials tried — and largely failed — to engineer a narrative that would substantiate the administration’s claims that the raids were motivated by public safety concerns.
As hundreds of undocumented immigrants were rounded up across the country last February in the first mass raids of the Trump administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials went out of their way to portray the people they detained as hardened criminals, instructing field offices to highlight the worst cases for the media and attempting to distract attention from the dozens of individuals who were apprehended despite having no criminal background at all.