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The American Gestapo

[ 99 ] February 23, 2017 |


Above: Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents

ICE is the American version of the Gestapo and they should be demonized as such, individually.

An undocumented woman in desperate need of brain surgery has been forcibly removed from a Texas hospital — and her relatives in New York fear she could lose her life, a family representative said early Thursday.

Sara Beltran-Hernandez was detained after trying to migrate to the Big Apple from El Salvador without proper documentation in November 2015, family spokeswoman Melissa Zuniga told the Daily News. Beltran-Hernandez has been held at the Prairieland Detention Center in Alvarado, Texas ever since, as her Queens-based family members have tried to petition for her asylum.

Earlier this month, Beltran-Hernandez, 26, began complaining about severe headaches, nosebleeds and memory loss. Last week, she collapsed and was subsequently taken to a hospital. Doctors diagnosed her with a brain tumor and determined that she needed surgery.

But Zuniga told The News that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents forcibly removed Beltran-Hernandez from the Huguley Hospital in Fort Worth on Wednesday evening.

“They had her tied up from hands and ankles,” Zuniga said. “She was brought in a wheelchair and is not being given treatment even though her nose continues to bleed and she has told them her head is exploding.”

Beltran-Hernandez had been put on a surgery waitlist over the weekend, according to Zuniga. But when Beltran-Hernandez’ relatives called on Wednesday night, the surgery was suddenly off the table.

“ICE was preparing paper work to get her back to the detention center,” Zuniga said.

We need to find out who these terrible human beings and confront them. We need to make working for ICE so shameful for these people that they quit. More directly, we need to take radical action to stop this. Maybe I don’t know what the right path is, but we need to do something. This is horrifying and despicable and we cannot allow it to continue.


Comments (99)

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  1. Cervantes says:

    Actually they’ve always been like that, it’s just that nobody was paying attention before. They did shit like that during the Obama administration as well. I worked for a Latino CBO in Boston and believe me, I know. I can’t give you links because nobody covered it. They’d bust into houses and drag parents away from their kids all the time. This is not about new orders.

  2. LeeEsq says:

    This straight up cartoon super-villainy behavior. Its pointless and actively cruel.

  3. Shakezula says:

    Hospital staff who didn’t see fit to tell her family she’d been taken need to be called out as well.

  4. petemack says:

    Yeah, that’s way, way into ‘I was only following orders’ territory. Those SOBs need to be fired, immediately.
    Hint to ICE:
    DON’T arrest people out of courtrooms for any reason whatsoever. That includes domestic violence BTW.
    DON’T arrest people in hospitals.

    This doesn’t seem like rocket science, so stop being assholes.

    • DAS says:

      Anything that causes a chilling effect for people seeking assistance from the law or from medical care providers is dangerous from a public health and safety perspective. ICE’s actions actually are making us less safe. A key talking point needs to be Donald Trump’s administration is making Americans objectively less safe!

    • Warren Terra says:

      She wasn’t “arrested in hospital”. She was arrested more than a year ago, and held in a detention center since then. She was in the hospital after collapsing with a nosebleed in the detention center, and was waiting in the hospital for needed surgery when ICE agents instead returned her to the facility.

      In other words: this awful story is about the callous and brutal refusal to give ICE detainees the medical care they need; it’s not about sweeping hospitals for undocumented people. She was already in detention as an undocumented person when she checked into the hospital.

        • bender says:

          Attempted murder. Hate crime. Violation of civil rights. On the way to murder and wrongful death.

          Probably also a charge for inhumane treatment of people in custody. Multiple violations of international law, but no way to enforce that.

          Is there a district attorney anywhere who would bring a case against the person who gave the order and the people who carried it out? Is there a court which would hear it?

        • busker type says:


      • Mike G says:

        We’re talking about people who scream “let them die” about Americans without health insurance. It’ll be a frosty day in hell to expect them to give a crap about a prisoner in federal detention who needs an expensive procedure. I’m just surprised they didn’t dump her over the border to avoid the expense.

  5. Fidalgo says:

    Maybe I don’t know what the right path is, but we need to do something.

    1) ICE is the Gestapo
    2) The Gestapo are Nazis
    3) It’s always correct to punch Nazis

    The intersection between hysterical rhetoric and personal courage.

    • BiloSagdiyev says:

      Could be worse.

      Now if the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms comes to disarm you and they are bearing arms, resist them with arms. Go for a head shot; they’re going to be wearing bulletproof vests. … They’ve got a big target on there, ATF. Don’t shoot at that, because they’ve got a vest on underneath that. Head shots, head shots…. Kill the sons of bitches

      G. Gordon Liddy, 1994

      What I did was restate the law. I was talking about a situation in which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms comes smashing into a house, doesn’t say who they are, and their guns are out, they’re shooting, and they’re in the wrong place. This has happened time and time again. The ATF has gone in and gotten the wrong guy in the wrong place. The law is that if somebody is shooting at you, using deadly force, the mere fact that they are a law enforcement officer, if they are in the wrong, does not mean you are obliged to allow yourself to be killed so your kinfolk can have a wrongful death action. You are legally entitled to defend yourself and I was speaking of exactly those kind of situations. If you’re going to do that, you should know that they’re wearing body armor so you should use a head shot. Now all I’m doing is stating the law, but all the nuances in there got left out when the story got repeated.

      G. Gordon Liddy, 2003

    • Gregor Sansa says:


      If you were an anti-Nazi German in 1940, punching any Nazi in sight would not be a good idea. There is an ethical place for suicidal resistance, but only if effective non-suicidal resistance and even simple passive-aggressive non-complicity are ruled out.

      The same lesson, to a lesser degree, applies in the case of fascist ICE agents. Lack of courage is one reason you might not want to do it, but not the only valid one, even if you think punching is not a priori unethical.

    • efgoldman says:

      It’s always correct to punch Nazis

      Punching someone who is carrying a firearm is not necessarily the wisest course.

  6. These guys were complaining that Obama wouldn’t let them enforce the laws, when he used his executive branch authority.

    Now Trump says he’s going to unshackle them and let them do their jobs.

    That is way beyond “just following orders.”

  7. DAS says:

    Would it be illegal (e.g. a Logan Act violation or treason or something) for US citizens living in the US to request the UN somehow intervene in matters where international law may be violated?

    I know that if you are working with the campaign of a Republican running for the Presidency, you can have contact with not-so-friendly countries like Russia or even with actual enemy nations like North Vietnam or enemy factions like the religious rebels who were taking over Iran and not get prosecuted for treason or even for Logan Act violations. But as an average citizen, would reaching out to the UN be actionable?

    • humanoid.panda says:

      No one was ever charged with Logan Act violations , so my guess the answer is that you can appeal to whomever. The Black Panthers, for instance, called for a

      And as our major political objective, a United Nations-supervised plebiscite to be held throughout the black colony in which only black colonial subjects will be allowed to participate, for the purpose of determining the will of black people as to their national destiny.”

      The problem is that these appeals have zero real world effects.

    • LeeEsq says:

      The United Nations is a toothless and useless body. I’m surprised anybody still has faith in it.

      • efgoldman says:

        I’m surprised anybody still has faith in it.

        It allows hundreds (thousands?) of people from other countries to live and work in NYC on their home country’s dime

  8. Thom says:

    In addition to the general horror of all this, the particular case really hits home for me. About three years ago, I had an ongoing severe headache. Eventually I was unable to function and my spouse took me to the ER, where I had emergency brain surgery to relieve pressure from an (unexplained) subdural hematoma. I would be dead now if I had not been able to get the surgery. Several things were critical to this: my spouse, our insurance (and starting next year we will be dependent on the ACA), and no one standing in the way.

  9. BobOso says:

    The mind boggles at the plain meanness of it all. From the article if she’s been in detention since November but went to the hospital last week- did ICE take her to the hospital and then someone higher up said, “No- deport her and let her die either in custody or back in her home country”? God that’s cold.

  10. Abbey Bartlet says:

    I can’t wait for Nuremberg Trials 2.0.


  11. libarbarian says:

    The Gestapo is bad …

    … but GestaBros are worse!

  12. Joe_JP says:

    We can find police officers generally doing horrible things. Should all police officers be treated like the Gestapo too?

    Killing Gestapo agents from my understanding probably was seen as justified in various cases. If they are the Gestapo, is physical injury (more than mere punching) okay?

    After all, as someone here noted, they are just “garbage.”

    The specific action here is inhuman, but it is a product of a policy enforced by a range of people. And, a collective bill of attainder is being put here. ALL ICE agents are the Gestapo.

    • cppb says:

      One difference between ICE and other law enforcement is that other law enforcement is charged with enforcing laws that are (at least in theory) just, but that they far too frequently abuse their power or otherwise enforce the laws unjustly (either due to individual factors or institutional ones). In contrast, ICE agents are charged with enforcing laws that are by their nature unjust, and carrying out penalties that are monstrous, even when not enforced in overtly racist ways (which they almost always are).

      Different people can believe general law enforcement is more or less just as an institution, and can disagree whether our immigration laws are inherently unjust or not. But there is nothing necessarily inconsistent with believing it’s possible to be a “good” cop but impossible to be a “good” ICE agent, and therefore the moral opprobrium for the latter should be categorical while the former should be individualized depending on his or her behavior.

      Add to these principles the fact that the institution is carrying out the orders of a president who is an overtly racist authoritarian, and I don’t see anything wrong with drawing a line in the sand at being an ICE agent.

      • libarbarian says:

        ICE agents are charged with enforcing laws that are by their nature unjust, and carrying out penalties that are monstrous, even when not enforced in overtly racist ways (which they almost always are).

        So all deportations are unjust? All customs regulations are bullshit?

        Is this just for America or do you believe it for all countries

        • There is a reasonable case to be made either way under Obama, but the shitgibbon’s executive orders amount to literal ethnic cleansing. Anyone carrying them out is an accessory to crimes against humanity.

        • cppb says:

          So all deportations are unjust?


          All customs regulations are bullshit?

          No? Who cares? You can have customs regulations without also having a gang of racist thugs destroying lives over national origin.

      • JMV Pyro says:

        I was actually at a seminar yesterday where it came up that DHS has had trouble getting people to sign up for boarder enforcement jobs for years. Would not be surprised at all if there was some self selection going on as far as personality type goes.

  13. Simple Mind says:

    I’ve seen the script.

    May we see your papers?

    I don’t think I have them on me.

    In that case, we’ll have to ask you to come along.

    The civilian pats his pockets.

    Suddenly the civilian breaks away and starts to run wildly down the street. A shot RINGS out, and the man falls to the ground. The policeman frantically searches the body, but only
    finds Free French literature.

  14. leftwingfox says:

    I’m sure our detention centers aren’t dystopian hellholes at all:

  15. Was listening to my local AM wingnut today. He was fantasizing about invading Mexico so that we could drop all the non-Mexican deportees there. If they came through Mexico, they can go back to Mexico, was his thinking.

    The righties have their blood up more now than at any time since the early days of the Iraq War.

    • BiloSagdiyev says:

      Yes. And I’m not even sure why.

      My best guesses are:
      they lost the White House to the BLACK MAN.
      And they raised holy hell about it.
      And they lost it AGAIN! : D

      And they know it. (One reason for the wailing of excuses about voter fraud.) They couldn’t stop it.

      Also, terror attacks in Western Europe caught their attention. I was never sure they noticed Madrid and London. (Perhaps because when big daddy Republican prez is in the White House, we are all safe, somehow.)

      My new theory:
      The Global War on Terror. They were promised one. Some of these folks yearn for WWII type stuff. Just sheer genocidal bombing of cities. We licked the Nat-sees in four years! And this thing drags on with no end in sight.

      That’s because it can’t be won, but trying telling them. We’ve gotten nowhere on that kind of subject subject with such folks since (checks Vietnamese calendar) Tet, 1968.

      They had a dream of world peace — as defined as “everybody cowering before our gun barrels or under drones and doing exactly as we say.”

      I don’t know what to say to folks who didn’t see an endless quagmire coming when we galavanted in there in full force in 2003 1990.

      Hope I live to see the say we’re not so bloody involved over there. Starting to think I won’t.

      Oh,and of course, the economy, withi the 42% unemployment. So much carnage. I keep forgetting they live in a hysterical bubbleworld of horseshit facts.

    • Jean-Michel says:

      This isn’t just a fantasy. This is something the Trump administration is openly proposing.

  16. Jack M. says:

    I hesitate to make this prediction, but I fully expect Trump to raise the “10,000” ICE stormtroopers he wants, is to outsource operations to Blackwater/Xe/Academi/whatever the hell Prince has renamed it to now. Trump can call it ‘military operations,’ and posse comitatus isn’t an issue.

    The only thing worse than a jackboot stomping on a human face, forever, is a mercenary’s jackboot.

  17. More evidence that it’s not just a few bad apples at the bottom; Homeland Security officials lied to the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s office about ICE involvement in raids to round up gang members. After Homeland Security assured the SO that ICE would not be involved and that the raids were related solely to criminal activity, ICE ended up detaining people caught up in the raid who were not involved in crime but were undocumented. Nobody in the Homeland Security chain of command will take responsibility for making the decision, but they’re also not denying that it happened, or that the Sheriff’s Office was lied to.

    • Matt_L says:

      That means that Homeland Security is going to get a lot less cooperation from the local cops in the coming years. You can pull that crap once and the Sheriffs won’t want to get burned again. The local police really hate it when the Feds show up, mess up the backyard and then leave.

  18. I mentioned this above, but it deserves to be emphasised as much as possible: the Shitgibbon Administration’s orders are a textbook example of a proposal for ethnic cleansing. The Gestapo comparison is entirely justified at this point.

  19. JMV Pyro says:

    Went ahead and looked up what ICE does beyond the horrific deportations, which are under the jurisdiction of Enforcement and Removal Operations(ERO). Biggest other thing is Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), which covers everything from art theft to human trafficking.

    I would imagine, in a hypothetical universe where ICE was somehow being dismantled, that rolling HSI into DoJ and dismantling ERO would be a good start. Having a bunch of pissy ex-Deportation Officers around would probably be bad though. Would probably lead to a militia movement spike.

  20. ice9 says:

    I thought the Gestapo wore long brown trench coats and often smiled broadly and spoke American English when it was necessary to fool a suspect. Those guys in the photo are SS, who are worse somehow. I know they are smug and are all classically trained musicians, but not much else. Except the shooting and the gassing, of course. I think we need polish up the accuracy of our Nazi allusions, since the people in power are sure to know all the nuances.


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