By: Rita Cook, NDG Special Contributor
We all know what is going on at our Texas border. Depending on who is talking, the dangers differ. To some, all who come across into Texas are criminals and must be treated as such regardless of their age, circumstance, or any other differing characteristic. To others, each individual is just that, an individual. Hence, some of these individuals may simply be trying to provide for their family after hearing about “the Great American Dream.”
Texas has always been known for its friendly family-oriented atmosphere, unfortunately, it is now becoming known for how we treat “outsiders.” Generally, people scorn being stereotyped and yet here we are, stereotyping men, women, and children as criminals.
“Texas has 50 border patrol stations,” Texas State Representative Carl Sherman says. “Many immigrants being held there are living in overcrowded conditions with no access to basic needs such as water, food, medical care or proper sanitation. We must find a way to alleviate the suffering and create a plan that allows all humans to be treated with dignity and respect.”
Human rights violations
This thought process is exactly what lead to the Geneva Convention. One rule of the Convention that Representative Sherman points out is that of POWs are to be protected against violence, intimidation, public curiosity, and insults. Additionally, should a POW be injured, they are to receive medical assistance and must be treated humanely. They are also entitled to all basic necessities; food, water, shelter, and other required materials.
Yet today at our borders, Sherman laments, “We hear stories about people taken into custody and being mistreated or not being given the basics. How can we call ourselves a friendly, God-fearing state when as a state of government, people in our custody are being mistreated. How do we pass laws to punish sex offenders yet allow just that to continue in these camps with vulnerable women and children? How do we laud ourselves for our family values while we separate babies from their mothers? There are many more examples, but the picture is clear. Something must change.”
On the subject of the conditions of these detention centers, Sherman states, “It is disheartening to read, hear, and see the conditions in which we are holding people in border patrol stations in Texas. These people are under our care and regardless of how that came to be, there is no reason why we should strip them of their dignity or continue to allow the dangerous conditions we are hearing about.”
“It is estimated that it costs about $700 per day for one detainee while it costs about a little over $50 for a Texas inmate. How does that math add up when we are not even giving each one of them the basic necessities? We know that we have a problem given the current overcrowding of detention centers holding more than they were originally created to hold. Not only should we find a solution as to how to process them expediently, we must also look into how we can help to squelch the issues that are driving them out of their countries.”
Sherman believes if we see fit to involve ourselves in the government of other countries, such as Iraq, then we should be open to assisting in other countries such as Columbia and El Salvador to eradicate the dangers that are propelling people from their home.
“I understand the need for immigration reform, but this is not the only subject when it comes to the immigrants at the Texas border,” Sherman says. “Washington has provided $4.6 billion in emergency border funding while the House passed its own plan of funneling $4.5 billion towards this issue. The fact of the matter is that there is a problem and while we find the best solution for this problem, we must keep in mind that regardless of what the final outcome may be, these are people we should treat as our fellow humans.”
The McAllen-area U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Processing Center for migrants in Texas are the largest in America. Most of the migrants there haul from Central America. According to various reports, over 133,000 migrants were not allowed to enter the country or were taken into custody in the past month.
“This situation will only become worse before it becomes better if we do not look at these shocking conditions and work together for a solution,” Sherman concludes.