Federal authorities took a child from a migrant woman who was breastfeeding at a detention center after illegally crossing the border, according to a CNN report Wednesday. When she resisted, she was handcuffed. The woman reportedly cried as she told an attorney about the experience Tuesday.
As writer Kaz Weida pointed out on Twitter, many breastfeeding babies don’t take bottles, and without her mother’s breastmilk, the child could be without nutrition.
Secondly, we need to talk about what happens to a Mom when she suddenly stops breastfeeding. This causes engorgement that can result in blocked milk ducts. And quite commonly, these can cause an infection that requires antibiotics.
We’re endangering the lives of babies & mothers
— Kaz Weida (@kazweida) June 13, 2018
Additionally, as Weida noted, when mothers stop breastfeeding suddenly, it can result in blocked milk ducts and cause an infection.
The CNN report comes just one day after a McClatchy report revealed the Trump administration is reportedly considering erecting so-called “tent cities” — effectively prison camps — to hold the thousands of migrant children currently detained by the administration after being separated from their families at the border.
Some 500 children have reportedly been separated from their parents since just last month, when Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen instituted a “zero tolerance” policy. According to McClatchy, Health and Human Services (HHS) shelters are now reportedly more than 95 percent full and hold more than 10,000 immigrant children.
Sessions defended the policy in a recent radio interview, claiming that most children detained by the government are “not infants,” but admitting that babies and toddlers are being taken from their parents.
“Most are teenagers, although we do have a number of younger ones now, more than we’ve seen recently,” Sessions said.
Sessions also said the children were “maintained” in a “very safe environment” by Health and Human Services. (HHS officials are reportedly the ones considering tent cities.)
“They are kept close by, and if the person pleads guilty [to illegally crossing the border], they would be deported promptly, and they can take their children with them,” Sessions said.
Sessions also blamed migrant parents for the policy in the interview.
“We don’t want to do this at all. If people don’t want to be separated from their children, they should not bring them with them,” he said.
The story about the breastfeeding baby taken from its mother also comes just days after a The Washington Post published a devastating report about a man who committed suicide after his family was separated at the border.
One agent told the Post that he didn’t understand why the man, torn from his family, “would choose to separate himself from his family forever” by taking his own life.
Homeland Security officials told the Post they had set up a special hotline to help people find their children after reports surfaced that some immigrants were being sent back to Central America while their children remained in U.S. foster care. They also said they were “doing more to explain the separation process to parents.”
But CNN reported Wednesday that some parents aren’t even being told that they are being separated from their kids for the foreseeable future. According to the report, some parents have told attorneys they don’t know what happened to their children, and others say they were told their children were just being taken to be bathed or cleaned up.