The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is suing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for reportedly shackling nine migrant women in a hot, windowless van for hours, forcing them to fall ill.
The suit claimed that the women gasped for air, fainted, and even vomited during the day-long journey. As a result, they experienced physical injuries and other medical complications. The suit added that there was psychological damage from the incident as well, and the women were given no information as to where they were being taken when they were shackled.
The women were exposed to this horrific experience on a hot summer day in 2017, the ACLU noted. Unfortunately, the suit explained that the incident simply confirms a pattern of “burdensome and lengthy voyages” detainees often experience at the hands of immigration officials.
“The women all thought they were going to die, that they were going to experience their last breath together in that van,” ACLU staff attorney Vasudha Talla said.
“The stench, the heat, the crying, the screaming — it was very traumatic for the women,” she added, explaining that the women were “treated like cargo.”
The suit wants the agency to release records on transportation practices and policies as well as records on the contractor and private security firm that provides ICE with transportation services, G4S Secure Solutions.
This piece of news follows the family separation policy scandal, making it even more concerning that ICE isn’t transporting immigrants in humane conditions, especially because the ACLU is aware of many other incidents involving ICE’s mistreatment.
“They have an obligation … to provide people with a basic level of rights and care,” Talla told reporters.
Unfortunately, she added, “We believe that the issue is widespread.”
It’s not surprising to learn that ICE’s transportation services treat immigrants as cattle. After all, it’s the widespread dehumanization of immigrants that makes these agents’ job easy.
It appears that to anti-immigration hawks and agents, immigrants aren't people. Therefore, they are clearly not being treated as such.