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Boston Globe on Juana Villegas

August 1, 2008

Today’s Boston Globe has an editorial on the treatment of Juana Villegas – interesting that the story is still moving its way across the country, nearly a month after the pregnant Villegas was jailed on a minor traffic violation *just in case* she might be an illegal immigrant, was shackled during birth labor, and denied access to her newborn for breastfeeding or a breast pump.

The meat of the piece:

Needless to say, the 287(g) program wasn’t intended to snare pregnant women. Rather, it is supposed to help officers “pursue investigations relating to violent crimes, human smuggling, gang/organized crime activity, sexual-related offenses, narcotics smuggling, and money laundering,” according to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Yet the perceived need for even local officials to crack down on illegal immigrants has become an obstacle to treating people humanely.

Indeed, so many people have responded to the event with the sentiment that because she was here illegally, she deserved whatever inhumane treatment was foisted upon her,* which speaks volumes about how easily we can be convinced to be inhumane to people we perceive as “not like us.”

*We’re going to talk soon about how the argument that because citizen women are also shackled in labor, that makes it okay, and the objections moot is, in Southern-speak, a dog that won’t hunt.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. August 1, 2008 7:48 am

    I find it interesting that you still claim she was shackled during birth. Her lawyer claimed it, the hospital staff and sheriffs refuted it. I think at least an ‘allegedly’ is in order.

  2. August 1, 2008 7:57 am

    I have seen that they were removed during that actual pushing-the-baby-out part, so maybe “birth” was a poor choice of words, and I should have said “labor.” If there has been any refutation otherwise, I haven’t seen it, and I still find shackling during labor (you know, the birth process) completely inappropriate.

  3. August 1, 2008 7:59 am

    Any anti-immigrant argument that is premised on the supposed “rule of law” is the same dog, different fleas…

  4. August 1, 2008 8:03 am

    Mack, I straightened out that last sentence in case it wasn’t clear that I think the argument that this treatment is okay to be total BS. I seem to have mangled the sentence on the first pass.

  5. Emily permalink
    August 1, 2008 10:17 am

    Considering how many women endure labour laying on their backs hooked up to a bunch of monitors the entire time, I’m not surprised that someone would think it was reasonable to handcuff a labouring woman to a bed. I’m the only woman I know that pulled the monitors off and the IV out during my first labour so I could get up and move around without permission or assistance. It’s a bit like looping a horses reigns over a fence, for some unknown reason it’s enough to convince the horse (patient) that they are bound.

    As for the breastfeeding, so many people view bf as equal to formula and don’t view a need for newborns to bond with their mothers, why would they care if the illegal immigrant had access to their child or a breast pump?

    I don’t agree with their actions, but it’s all far from shocking. Just disappointing. I’m usually suprised how easily governments seem to remove/separate children from their parents.

  6. Joe permalink
    August 4, 2008 4:55 pm

    Nice to see that decency and a desire for kindheartedness in our relations with others is still valued in our increasingly cold and cruel society. Just consider the anger and frustration expressed at the cruelty shown to Juana Villegas and bravo to the Boston Globe for taking up the issue. In a letter I received today from Sheriff Daron Hall of the Davidson County Sheriff Department he claims that the truth and the facts of this case can not be learned by reading a newspaper (or any newspaper, I suppose) and that the thing to have done was not to have written him criticising his office but that I should “have called my office for an explanation.” I say, let’s take him up on his invite: his phone number is 615-862-8166. Naturally, should any of you actually call him, you should be prepared to speak to his spokesperson, the zombie called Weikal who first told the nation, in the NY Times 7/20, that Juana was treated no worse than anybody else down there and so she couldn’t understand what was all the fuss!

  7. juan sin miedo permalink
    August 12, 2008 8:02 pm

    What kind of law or better what kind of ignorant apes(police officers, sheriff etc) are the people that did thishorrible thing to a woman in that conditions but what else you can expect from people so ignorant like the 90% of the population of this incredible country…Yeah right

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