As attention focuses on impeachment, many of us are dismayed at what is occurring in real time. Children are traumatized, families are not reunited and people are still dying from brutality and neglect. Our attention is elsewhere, which allows for human rights violations to be adopted as policy fulfilling directives handed down from this anti-immigrant administration.
I was struck by reports of doctors protesting outside a holding facility near San Diego, California, demanding flu vaccines be provided to migrants. This demonstration follows on the heels of video footage and news reports of a teenage boy writhing in pain and being ignored as he died from flu symptoms in a border patrol holding cell. This callous lack of care is imbedded into policy to be used as a deterrent to migration. It is not an accidental byproduct of rushed planning.
An article co-published Dec. 3 by ProPublica and The New York Times offers additional insight into how the international consulting firm McKinsey & Company helped the Trump administration detain and deport immigrants days after Trump assumed office in 2017. The firm was brought in under the Obama administration to inform “organizational transformation” and was promptly redirected by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ice) to implement the White House’s restrictive, anti-immigrant policy.
According to the report, McKinsey & Co. looked for methods to fast-track deportation, provoking concerns that the recommendations would hinder due-process rights of people contesting removal. The aim was to cut costs and accelerate removals while also meeting the administration’s directive of adding an additional 10,000 new immigration officers, “with little acknowledgment that these policies affected thousands of human beings.”
Expense cuts included food, medical care and maintenance. These measures intentionally sought to lower standards at ice detention facilities. The consulting firm ceased work with ice in June 2018 and within a week signed a contract to advise Customs and Border Protection. Sadly, these recommendations at border facilities have led to deaths, psychological trauma and outright physical abuse.
ProPublica also documented McKinsey & Co.’s “institutional code of silence” and corruption allegations against companies the firm has partnered with at home and abroad. Furthermore, ProPublica said, the firm has “a habit of disregarding inconvenient rules and norms to secure, retain and profit from government work.”
A search of McKinsey and Co.’s political donations via Opensecrets.org ironically found donations in Washington were sent primarily to Democratic lawmakers, including Washington U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal. I am absolutely hoping the politicians declined these payments.
What we can’t afford is to look away as people suffer.
Read the full Dec. 25 - 31 issue.
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