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Children in America


I am the least racist person there is.

When Mexico

Sends its


They’re not sending the best.


They’re bringing drugs.

They’re bringing crime.

They’re rapists.






You won’t believe

How bad these


Are. These

Aren’t People.

These are


Drugs. Crime. Rapists.

At least





Have died

In immigration custody

Since last year


After almost a decade

In which no





In the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.


Customs and Border Protection Standards of Conduct:

Employees will not engage, on or off duty, in criminal, infamous, dishonest, or notoriously disgraceful conduct.


Marisela’s Son (Two-years Old)


“My son was losing weight and

I would sometimes have to change his diaper

Every 10 to 15 minutes.


An official told me

They were not

Giving medication to




During the week

We were in the Pererra.”


When they finally

Saw the nurse

She was told that

Nothing that could be done for her son.


Carla’s Son (Six Years Old)

“He was






And couldn’t sleep

From the cold.


I asked for diapers

So he could have something to wear.


The officials said

He was too old to wear them.”


Customs and Border Protection General Policy

2.8: Medical Precautions

If officers/agents suspect that a detainee has an observed or reported medical condition… appropriate protective precautions must be taken.


Sofia’s Daughter (Nine Years Old)

“I asked for

My daughter

To see a doctor.


The official said

If she didn’t have a fever

She couldn’t take us anywhere


And told us to go back to our cell.”


Vidalina’s Daughter (11 Years Old)

“I told her

My daughter

Had a fever


The official responded

I don’t have medicine for you

And much less for her.”

Customs and Border Protection General Policy

1.6: Treatment of Juveniles

Officers/Agents will consider the best interest of the juvenile at all decision points beginning at the first encounter and continuing through processing, detention, transfer, or repatriation. Officers/Agents should recognize that juveniles experience situations differently than adults.

Beatriz’s Daughter (Nine-years old)

When her




Vomited twice

An immigration official told


They only took




To a medical provider

If they had vomited

Three times.


“She said she could not help.

She said she could not help.”


Yuri’s Daughter (Three-years old)

Immigration officials

Told Yuri


To stay away from them

Because they were afraid

Of getting infected.


Her daughter vomited

About ten times

In an hour


But officials

Told Yuri

She could not receive medical care.



Saw a woman

Leave to give birth


Then return to the facility

With her newborn



Customs and Border Protection General Policy

1.9 Family Unity


CBP will maintain family unity to the greatest extent operationally feasible.


Diana’s Daughter (11 Years old)


After crossing


            The U.S.-Mexico Border


                          They were separated from one another




                                                     In different fenced areas.


Holocaust Survivor Ruth Bloch when asked if she was offended by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s comparison of ICE Detention Centers to Concentration Camps



I identify.


It’s the same conditions I lived through.  The




Coming here now

Come out of Desperation


They cannot live


Where they were born.


I think anyone like me

Who has gone through the Holocaust

Should know that these




Have the

Exact same history.


What you hear of the




In these camps, the




Have to take

Care of themselves.


There is no love.


What will become of them

I don’t know.


If they’re lucky

They can spend a normal life—


But I doubt it.

Note from the Author

All of these poems are composed, verbatim, from speeches, news articles, and official government websites. I have listed their sources below in the order in which they appear.


Rankine, Claudia. “I Wanted to Know What White Men Though About Their Privilege. So I Asked.” The New York Times, 17 July 2019,


Korte, Gregory and Alan Gomez. “Trump Ramps up Rhetoric on Undocumented Immigrants: ‘These aren’t People. These are Animals.’” USA Today, 17 May 2018,


Acevedo, Nicole. “Why are Migrant Children Dying in U.S. Custody?” NBC News, 29 May 2019,


“Department of Homeland Security U.S. Customs and Border Protection Directive.” U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 13 Mar. 2012,


“Firsthand Accounts of Medical Negligence in Customs and Border Protection Facilities.” American Immigration Council, 4 Sep. 2019,


“U.S. Customs and Border Protection: National Standards on Transport, Escort, Detention, and Search.” U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Oct. 2015,


Arce, Julissa. “Trump’s Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric was Never About Legality—It was About Our Brown Skin.” TIME Magazine, 6 Aug. 2019,


Kaye, Randi. “Supporters Rally Behind Trump on Immigration.”  CNN News, 1 Nov. 2018,


Arango, Tim, et al. “Minutes Before El Paso Killing, Hate-Filled Manifesto Appears Online.” The New York Times, 3 Aug 2019,


Levine, Mike. “’No Blame?’ ABC News Finds 36 Cases Invoking ‘Trump’ in Connection with Violence, Threats, Alleged Assaults.” ABC News, 14 Aug 2019,


Pry, Alyssa. “Holocaust Survivor: Yes, the Border Detention Camps are like Concentration Camps.” The Daily Beast, 8 July 2019,

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