[Ed. – Credit where credit is due: The paper didn’t bury the year when the author and her child were intercepted at the border: 2014.]
It was no place for human beings, let alone for families with small children.
When our children were sick, we waited days for medical attention. 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. Another mother asked for medical assistance for her son but it never came. She was deported, and her son died just a few months later.
We weren’t allowed to sleep in the same beds as our children, even the youngest ones who wanted to sleep with their mothers to feel safe. Deportations usually happened in the middle of the night, with flashlights pointed in our faces to wake us up.
Most of the officers didn’t speak Spanish, which made it hard to communicate. Things were even worse for the indigenous women among us who spoke only their native languages. Once, officers physically forced an indigenous woman to take a shower while she was menstruating, violating both her privacy and her cultural beliefs. As a woman, witnessing this type of treatment was heartbreaking — and it has stayed with me in the years since.