Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Abby Zimet: The Cruelty is the Point

Sweet mother of God. Racist and cruel doesn’t begin to cover the ongoing atrocities now daily committed – coincidentally, virtually entirely against brown and black people – by the sick demons running our country. The refusal to offer temporary refuge to the desperate survivors of a climate-crisis-fueled hurricane that left 70,000 people homeless and likely killed another 2,500 still missing is only the latest. The day before, ICE officials stonewalled Democrats on their ungodly efforts to deport critically ill kids – in Boston alone, they include a 7-year-old boy with severe epilepsy, a 10-year-old girl blinded by eye cancer and a 16-year-old boy fighting cystic fibrosis – in the name of what one GOP ghoul calls “love of country, love of securing this nation.”

And last week, despite months of protests, legal battles and outrage from doctors, ICE deported Yoel Alonso Leal, a Cuban dissident and asylum-seeker who was so sick doctors say there is a “high chance” he will die on the flight. Having developed gout, pneumonia, and now likely lung cancer during a year in custody – during which time ICE refused to release him to his U.S.-resident wife for care or grant him parole despite his lack of criminal record – Leal was dragged out of his cell at 2 a.m. and put on a mid-day Delta flight. “If that plane leaves the ground,” advocates warned, “Yoel’s blood will be on Delta’s hands.” Shortly after, it did, thus relieving ICE thugs of the legal and moral burden of his death on their murderous home turf. 

Kaytora Paul, a 12-year-old Bahamian girl who fled the devastation of Hurricane Dorian, is still here. But because we have a fascist government in the business of abducting brown children, she is incarcerated alone, and, says her mother Katty Paul,”out of it, crying, depressed. She wants her family but we can’t do anything.” Having erroneously believed they were heading to a humane country, her family of six survived Dorian after their house collapsed by spending six days in their car; finally rescued but unable to travel together in the chaos, Kaytora had flown with her aunt and godmother to Florida – where ICE, those omnipresent monsters, sent Kaytora to His House Children’s Home in Miami Gardens, a baby jail for “unaccompanied alien children” because neither her aunt nor godmother nor – even now that she’s in Miami – her mother count as accompaniment.

“I thought losing my house was devastating, but when I found out that they got her, my baby – I mean, there are no words,” said her mother. “ It was at that moment I really lost everything.” Not quite yet: Her mother will now have to go through HHH’s Kafkaesque process of applying to be Kaytora’s “sponsor,” a process that can take weeks to months and requires documentation she doesn’t have because, hurricanes. Officials also told her she can only stay in the U.S. until Sept. 26 – though that was before Trump said, actually, nobody can come here, because very bad people. Oh yes: And another (brown) person, a 37-year-old Mexican man, just died in ICE custody, the 8th fatality this fiscal year, even though ICE issued a statement saying it is “firmly committed to the health and welfare of all those in its custody.” Listen: everything is sickening right now. There is no bottom to the depths these fuckers will sink. Look to the light, come together for solace, honor Mother Jones: “Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living.”

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Photo by Dante Carrier/Reuters
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Photo by Jose Jimenez/Getty
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Kaytora Paul, one of Trump’s “very, very bad drug dealers.” Family photo

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Bahamians desperate to leave. Photo by Jose Jimenez/Getty

First published in Common Dreams.

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