Cruel and Probably Usual

Perhaps after the recent wave of heat-related deaths in Paris it will be clear just how evil this alleged conduct at the Krome immigrant detention center is: Worker claims 'day after day' he was ordered to turn off AC. We're not talking just making people sweat here:

'I don't know how someone didn't die in there because of the heat,'' Novoa said Wednesday in a telephone interview. 'Imagine 110 people in a room. There are no windows, only a door, locked with no air conditioning. Those poor Haitians… . When they saw me, they said `Please don't do that to us. You are killing us.' You have no idea how it made me feel.''

When he entered one of the buildings, Novoa said it had a stench of human feces and body odor.

Krome—perched on the very southern edge of settled greater Miami, nestled right up near the last of the open land and the Everglades—is a notorious facility in this community, one we like to pretend isn't there. It is the site of repeated human rights violations (e.g. sexual abuse, attempts to deny detainees access to counsel, and general evil). It is amazing that in this community, more than most of America a cauldron of immigrants, we tolerate this. But of course, we're mostly powerless, as Krome is not run by the locals but by the feds, and not just any feds but one of the two or three most loathsome bureaucracies in the US federal government, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).

Stories like this—and even if this one turns out to be exaggerated or false, it's only one of many—strain my general belief that evil institutions can turn good people bad. Perhaps a refinement is in order: could it be that one of the reasons that certain evil institutions are so evil is because they drive out the good people and attract those who either cannot find work elsewhere or who positively enjoy the evil?

Nor is this a story of a heroic whistle-blower: the matter is public only because a worker objected to being disciplined for failing to go along with it.

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One Response to Cruel and Probably Usual

  1. Ellen1910 says:

    Cruel and Probably Usual

    ” . . . one of the two or three most loathsome bureaucracies in the US federal government, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).”

    Okay, now. Is that a rhetorical device, a sign of intellectual modesty, or do you know the other one or two “loathsome beaurocracies” but just aren’t saying?

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