ICE Supervisor: ‘These Individuals Are Crossing the Border With All These Diseases’

In a recording of a phone conversation sent this morning to Latino Rebels, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) supervisor from the Artesia, New Mexico migrant detention facility said that many migrants from Central America, including babies as young as 15 months old, are bringing diseases to the country.

The supervisor, who identified himself as Henry Davila, was speaking in a late July conversation to an immigration attorney about the case of 22-year-old Katy Serrano and her 15-month-old baby (details about the case were covered in the August 5 edition of The New York Times). According to the Times, “Ms. Serrano said her son, Mateo, had fallen ill repeatedly during four weeks in Artesia, including a cough and vomiting that had required an emergency trip to a nearby hospital. On Saturday, his fever spiked again. Officials have reiterated that she is scheduled for deportation and declined to release her and her child.”

Here is the 10-minute conversation with some transcribed quotes from Davila about Serrano’s case:

“We’re probably actually doing the individual a favor, because, at this point, if we release him right now he’s just going to go out there and we are going to prolong his care. We’re actually doing him a favor addressing it right now as we speak.” (1:40)

“Look, sir, you’re talking about a mother, some of these people come from these Third World countries, and have no understanding of the U.S. medical health care hospitals here. But I sure you, ok, he is getting the best health care you and I would give our own children.” (2:00)

“I just don’t see how we can stop in the middle of everything and say, ‘You know what go to the street and find your own health care.’ [Lawyer: “Well, I mean I can provide her with transportation directly to…] “We’re doing that at government cost. And we are giving some of the, actually if not the best healthcare that can be provided. We’re adequately staffed, more than adequately staffed here in Artesia, but in this case we felt that he should go to the ER to be dealt with in a safer environment.’” (2:45)

“Our job is to remove people from the country, now we are going to that in the most humane, safe way we can.” (3:30)

“And we’re vaccinating. Some of these kids haven’t even had a vaccination ever in their lives, in their own countries. We’re taking it upon ourselves to do this for these kids…” (3:45)

“So, in a way, them coming in here and us addressing their medical issues is kind of a blessing, don’t you think?” (7:30)

“I’m taking the point of view, the US population here. Would we want them to be subjected to any type of disease, or virus, or bacterial infection? We have to regulate that.” (7:40)

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