The Trump administration is facing a lawsuit on behalf of 1000 prisoners filed through the ACLU. The suit complains that the prisoners have had their Bibles confiscated from them, their ability to pray and worship curtailed, and as well were given rotten food filled with maggots:
Immigration and prison officials have seized Bibles and other holy books from immigrants detained at a federal prison in California, where they are being subjected to dangerous and inhumane conditions with no freedom to practice their respective faiths, the American Civil Liberties Union says in a lawsuit.
The ACLU said, as part of a coalition of civil rights groups, it has filed a federal lawsuit against President Donald Trump, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Prisons for violating the constitutional rights of the roughly 1,000 immigrants detained at the federal prison located in a desert in Victorville.
Prison officials have denied the detained men “one of the few things that might bring them some comfort or peace of mind: the ability to practice their faith,” the group said in a Wednesday statement, explaining that they are not being provided religious services or any other means for them to worship and pray.
“By policy, the men are not allowed to worship outside of their cells. Prison officials also have not provided meals that fully comport with their religious beliefs, forcing them to eat food that violates their faith or go hungry,” ACLU says.
Their religious items were confiscated, it adds. Citing an example, the group says an immigrant “had his Bible seized and has likewise been unable to procure a replacement.”
“These violations of religious rights persist, even though the BOP’s and ICE’s own regulations recognize the right to engage in these religious practices,” the statement notes.
They are “confined indoors for most of the day with little opportunity for exercise or exposure to sunlight,” it continues. “Their ‘meals’ are often inedible: spoiled milk and meat that is infested with worms and maggots.”
Officials are also ignoring medical and mental health needs, “an especially dangerous situation for those who have fled persecution or torture in their home countries.”
As a result, ACLU says, there have been outbreaks of chickenpox and scabies. “When the men try to seek medical help, they are often dismissed, mocked, and verbally abused by staff who threaten them with isolation and other punishment.”
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Riverside, was brought by six detainees on behalf of all ICE detainees for alleged violations of their rights under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment as well as the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment and statutory rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
At a Tuesday Senate hearing, a top ICE official said the detention facilities are like “Summer camp.”
“These individuals have access to 24/7 food and water,” Matthew Albence said. “They have educational opportunities. They have recreational opportunities, both structured as well as unstructured; there’s basketball courts, there’s exercise classes, there’s soccer fields we put in there.”
Trump’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy has also been criticized for resulting in the separation of immigrant children from their families. Trump announced an end to the policy in June and a federal judge ordered his administration to reunite the children who had already been separated from their families.
Most of those children have been reunited, but close to 600 are still waiting for their cases to be resolved. For about 400 of the children, their parents are out of the country, likely because they were deported.
In June, about two dozen men from Central America who were being held in a detention facility in Texas after they were separated from their children said they were asked to sign voluntary deportation papers if they wanted to reunite with their kids.
Friday, in response to the Justice Department arguing the ACLU should find those children’s lost parents, a federal judge ordered the Trump administration to find the parents.
“The reality is that for every parent who is not located, there will be a permanently orphaned child,” U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw said.
Wednesday, Pro Publica reported on court records showing a staff worker at an immigrant detention facility in Arizona had been charged with sexually abusing eight boys. (source)
Now the ACLU has plenty of issues associated with it, as they have supported many causes which are not good. However, there are also cases where they support that which is objectively good.
Recall that in light of the Trump administration’s actions to stop all Muslim immigration, the immigration which they did restrict was highly limited, and that instead, Christians in the USA from Middle Eastern nations were deported.
His promise was lip service. Just like “the wall” has been up to this point, for there has been much talk but little to no real action taken.
It is true that all politicians pay lip service on some level. However, as with each passing president, it gets progressively worse, and Trump is not an exception.
Now, there is this case with these people incarcerated.
Regardless of who these people are, or what they have done, there is a reason that America is not a third world nation, at least in theory. However, we are becoming one by our behaviors.
How true are the accusations? That is to be seen. However, if they are substantiated, that maggot filled, rotten food was served to prisoners, and that people had their Bibles taken from them without a legitimate reason, and that prayer and worship was denied without a legitimate cause, then there is a serious problem.
I don’t want to give the impression that these individuals in prison are “innocent,” or that they would not attempt to use complaints about rights to engage in dangerous behavior. This is a legitimate concern of prison guards and is something they have to be on the lookout for all the time. It is also true, as mentioned above, that claims made may be false in order to gain sympathy from the public and attempt to unjustly discredit the justice system, which for all of its flaws, must be credited with doing a decent job at caring for what are large numbers of people that can be dangerous, unpredictable, and pathological in their thought processes and behaviors (in other nations, such as China or the U.A.E., such people would be summarily put to death even for simple complaints).
Likewise, I don’t want to make this into a political issue, because it transcends political lines. There has been a general erosion of freedom and rights of the individual that has been taking place for over a century in the USA. The particular person in office is less important than the policies pursued, because if one views the President as but a gear in a larger machine, he simply functions to keep the machine running, as opposed to actually changing the operation of the machine itself. If one wants to speak of fundamental policies, then one must discuss the Federal Reserve Bank and the debt-based monetary system the US is beholden to, and the American history of eugenics as an extension of philosophical errors in combination with anti-clerical nationalism going back to the Virginia and Massachusetts colonies.
To this discussion, one must also remember the immigration issue, not as one of “borders versus open borders,” but as one of long-standing US economic policy. The US government will never end illegal immigration because it uses illegal workers to support the farm industry which directly supports US agricultural policy that is a strategic arm of her foreign relations in the form of using food aid as a way to manipulate countries to submit to her requests.
But that said, given the significant difference between the Trump administration’s claimed policies versus how those policies actually are applied as shown by past experience, this complaint may not be without merit and must be looked into on a matter of principle. Prisoners may not be liked, but like minority ethnic groups, foreigners, the sick, and the elderly of any society, because these groups are in a “weakened” state in comparison to the larger group, how they are treated is a metric of the health of a society. It is expected, sadly, that abuses will happen because the world is not perfect no matter where on is. That said, the extent and degree of abuses that happen indicate the moral health of a nation. If morals decline too much, not only does that nation risk falling apart in a temporal sense, but before doing so can lead to associating the value of human life with its perceived social utility, bringing about the philosophical justifications of darwinian philosophy which brought about the 20th century’s wars and human experimentation in the name of establishing a better society. One should recall that it was Alex Carrel, a French eugenicist who advocated for gassing prisoners in the name of eradicating “unfit” people from society. Eugenists target criminals because the society generally sees them as bad. While there are criminals who do deserve death, this is not the objective of the eugenist, but only a way to desensitize us to his ultimate goal and that is to murder the weak under the ideology of Darwinism. As the wicked in Wisdom 2 state: ”
“But let our strength be our norm of righteousness;
for weakness proves itself useless.” (Wisdom 2:11)
It is not a question of whether one likes another, but whether one seeks the genuine good will of another, for as Christ warns, whatever you do to the least of these, that you do unto me (Matthew 25:40).
There is also the issue of impending persecution of Christians in the USA. Christianity has been on the decline for a long time, and in its place a strain of heathen beliefs and practices have taken to fill the vacuum. That Christians in a prison would- if the claims are found to be substantiated -had their Bibles illegally removed, were illegally told not to pray or worship outside of certain restrictive contexts, and were given food unfit for an animal, while it is not per se an act of persecution into itself, it sets a tone for future treatment of Christians who are incarcerated by giving legitimacy to said behaviors, which will then be followed with more of the same and worse actions.
Incidents such as these, however small, are important to watch because change in a society happens in an exponential fashion, beginning with small and slow steps until after enough time and actions have passed, a massive change happens quickly. It is at this point that many are surprised, when the reality was that the signs were always around him- they just chose to ignore them.