On August 7, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents raided a large chicken processing plant in Morton, MS (it is operated by Koch Foods which is unrelated to GOPe funders Charles and David Koch or their businesses despite what you may see on Twitter). Some 680 suspected illegals were rounded up and a large number of those were detained. CNN, ever on the look out for a way to cast enforcing immigration laws as some kind of cruel and inhuman act, was on the scene:
Maria Domingo-Garcia left for work 12 days ago, and she hasn’t been home.
The mother of three has been separated from her 4-month-old daughter — who she still breastfeeds — since being picked up during a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid at Koch Foods in Morton, Mississippi.
Domingo-Garcia was among the 680 undocumented immigrants detained August 7 in raids, the most in the agency’s history, at seven food processing plants across the central part of the state.
She’s being held at a facility in Jena, Louisiana, which is nearly 200 miles from Morton.
When a woman is breastfeeding, her body continues to produce milk that needs to be expressed or it can cause pain and swelling.
In a video posted online by The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi, Domingo-Garcia’s husband tried to bottle-feed the crying infant as he explained that he has friends in the area but no family to help care for the children.
He has been trying to take the kids’ minds off the situation, he told the newspaper.
All of this is unfortunate but hardly a cause célèbre. Lactating is not a get-out-of-jail free card. And let’s not forget the proximate cause of this distress is not ICE doing its job but rather the byproduct of someone entering into the country illegally and (more likely than not) engaging in some form of identity theft or fraud to obtain documents to allow them to work illegally. If Daddy has to teach a 4-month old how to use a bottle, well, life’s tough and then you die.
Naturally, there are lawyers involved:
Domingo-Garcia’s attorneys, Ray Ybarra Maldonado and Juliana Manzanarez, along with Dalila Reynoso, program director for Justice for Our Neighbors in Texas, have been working with the mother and her family as they navigate her custody and hopeful release.
ICE spokesman Bryan Cox said all detainees receive a medical screening upon intake and many people were released for a variety of reasons. If a woman identified that she was nursing she may have been released because it would be considered a mitigating factor in determining detention, he said.
Cox indicated in a Sunday statement he was unable to discuss the specifics of any person’s medical information without a signed privacy waiver, but he did say he was aware of communications between Domingo-Garcia’s attorneys and an ICE representative who claimed Domingo-Garcia answered “no” when asked whether she was breastfeeding.
“ICE is, once again, lying,” said Ybarra Maldonado. “She said nobody’s asked her — not even one time — if she’s been breastfeeding.”
“Can you imagine having a 4-month-old baby and being ripped away from that baby, unsure of who is taking care of her?” he said. “She’s devastated.”
Manzanarez added Domingo-Garcia told her that detention center staff has asked her only if she has a 4-month-old daughter, to which she replied “yes.”
What these guys seemed to have been relying upon was the ICE being unable to share details of the case which allowed the lawyers free rein to spin it anyway they wished. Thanks, however, to the persistence of the Daily Caller we now know CNN’s story was composed of their main product: bullsh**.
In a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation, not only did ICE reiterate that Doming-Garcia said “no” when first asked if she was breastfeeding upon arrival at an ICE facility, but a spokesperson revealed that a subsequent medical examination found that she was not even lactating.
“All ICE detainees receive medical, dental and mental health intake screening within 12 hours of arriving at each detention facility; that screening includes a woman being asked if she is breast feeding. During her initial medical screening, Ms. Domingo-Garcia answered no to that question,” said ICE spokesman Bryan Cox.
“Pursuant to subsequent media reports that falsely alleged Ms. Domingo-Garcia was being detained despite being a nursing mother, an ICE Health Services Corps nurse practitioner conducted an additional medical examination of Ms. Domingo-Garcia, which verified she is not lactating,” Cox continued. (RELATED: CBP Chief Mark Morgan Defends Record-Breaking Illegal Immigration Operation)
CNN also misidentified Domingo-Garcia’s nationality, according to ICE. The article describes her as being “originally from Guatemala,” but ICE identified her as a Mexican national living unlawfully in the U.S.
So the woman is not from Guatemala and she’s not lactating.This latter fact indicates that the baby has been on a bottle for few weeks and any difficulty it is having feeding is not due to the method of food delivery. So the only true element in the story is that she is an illegal who has been detained. Great journalisming, CNN.
As of today, CNN has not posted a correction to the story to reflect ICE’s subsequent statements. I doubt that they will. The value of articles like these is to create and burnish a narrative that tries to paint the Border Patrol and ICE as heartless monsters who are gratuitously inflicting suffering on people who would unlock the full potential of the United States. Truth, in the service of that narrative, is not helpful. So who needs it anyway, amirite?