The New York Times published a shocking first-hand account of the horrific conditions a mother and her young son faced after immigrating to the United States from El Salvador. Unfortunately for the mainstream media that continues to portray President Trump as the face of immigration crisis – the asylum seeker’s tragic account happened in 2014.
The author of the Op-Ed wrote on the condition of anonymity because of “gang-related threats” her family has faced. She explained that she wanted to flee the violence of her native El Salvador, so she came to the United States, seeking a new life, during President Barack Obama’s second term in the White House.
“Instead, I found myself locked in a family immigration detention center. It’s an experience that I wouldn’t wish on anyone,” she wrote.
The mainstream media has painted Trump as the face of the immigration crisis, but the Times piece illustrates that it is an ongoing issue that has been a series problem since the current president was simply a real estate mogul. However, the woman who sought asylum in 2014 never mentioned Obama in her chilling account. Trump was mentioned by the second paragraph, when the mother noted that she doesn’t believe family detention is the answer to the outcry regarding children separated from their parents.
The anonymous woman found “no relief” in the United States, where she was held for two months in a for-profit immigration detention center in New Mexico back in 2014.
“The day-to-day conditions were horrible. The food was often expired, the milk was spoiled, and we weren’t provided with snacks for our children between meals,” she wrote.
She explained that sometimes food was thrown out because of concerns regarding rats in her dorm and said children often went to bed hungry, while clean water also was hard to come by.
“It was no place for human beings, let alone for families with small children,” she wrote.
The woman said children in the Obama-era detention center didn’t receive proper medical attention, which she says resulted in at least one death, and staffers talked down to the detainees.
“When one mother whose daughter had asthma informed the officers that her child needed medical care, she was told that she should have thought about that before she came to the United States,” she wrote.
"Witnessing this type of treatment was heartbreaking."
It wasn’t only children who were treated inhumanely, according to the woman. “Once, officers physically forced an indigenous woman to take a shower while she was menstruating, violating both her privacy and her cultural beliefs,” she wrote.
The woman wrote that “witnessing this type of treatment was heartbreaking,” adding that it has stayed with her in the years since.
It’s unclear if conditions have improved, or gotten worse, since the anonymous woman spent two months at the detention center in 2014. Last week, after national outcry regarding family separations as a result of Trump’s "zero tolerance" policy for illegal immigration, he signed an executive order to allow children to stay with parents caught crossing the border illegally.
“That’s not a solution, that’s a jail sentence,” the woman wrote, based on her Obama-era experience.
While the woman’s horrifying tale would be tragic under any administration, it begs the question of why immigration was covered so much differently during the previous administration.