Customs and Border Patrol released statistics last week showing the highest number of apprehensions at the border in 11 years. But along with the numbers of illegal crossers, an equally serious crisis is growing—that of sexual and other types of violence perpetrated against migrant women and children as they make their way to the U.S. border.
Lax border enforcement and asylum loopholes that favor minors have encouraged women and children to come to the United States. As a result, many are increasingly willing to put themselves in harm’s way—and paying dearly.
A featured article in the New York Times last week outlines the horrific assaults on girls as young as 4, and women of all ages, perpetrated by smugglers or coyotes—either while on the trek to the U.S. border or once they have arrived.
Women were locked in rooms for weeks at a time, drugged, and repeatedly gang raped. Others were held prisoner in makeshift brothels in the Rio Grande Valley, referred to by the smugglers as “nueva carne”—new meat. Many of them had their hands and feet bound so they could not move, let alone escape. At least one was left pregnant by her attacker.
The appalling examples reported by the New York Times are indicative of a serious and endemic crisis of assault.
Doctors Without Borders has found that about one in three women have been sexually assaulted while traveling up through Mexico. In a speech, Dr. Joanne Liu, international president of the group, reported that “women and girls seek contraception because they simply expect to be raped during their journeys.”
A survey conducted by Fusion estimates that 80 percent of Central American women are raped as they travel to the U.S. border from Mexico. Reporters at the New York Times found more than 100 documented reports of sexual assault of illegal migrant women along the border over the previous two decades, which law enforcement officials and advocates say likely only skims the surface.
All of this, of course, occurs in the shadows of the #MeToo movement. But leading members of Congress, primarily Democrats, insist there is no crisis at the southern border and forcefully oppose any reforms to the laws that incentivize women and children to put themselves at risk of exploitation.
It seems to be an article of faith on the Left to deny any connection between the humanitarian crisis on our border and our lax asylum laws. While they may refer in generalities to family separation at the border, not one Democrat has mentioned, let alone tried to address, the sexual exploitation of illegal migrant women and girls and the role our policies play in allowing it to happen.
The response from Jemele Hill, disgraced former ESPN anchor and now-staff writer for The Atlantic, to President Trump’s description of the horrific cases of abuse faced by migrant women is a case in point. In a speech to CPAC, Trump described “mothers who love their daughters giv[e] them massive amounts of birth control pills, because they know their daughters are going to be raped on the way up to our southern border.”
Hill immediately fired back on Twitter, saying, “If you’re the type of person who believes this, you are dumb and awful.”
But reporting from Doctors Without Borders (whose president shared the same anecdote in a December speech), the New York Times, the Huffington Post, and even PBS suggests that, Hill, a professed feminist, is willfully ignorant to the realities of sexual assaults faced by women and girls at the border.
In other words, the #MeToo party is selective about how they apply their outrage. Believe all women, just not the ones who happen to sully your narrative that everything at the border would be fine, if not for Trump.
The reality is that as long as our asylum laws encourage illegal immigration through ease of entry and catch and release; as long as migrants believe that putting their lives in the hands of a coyote is worth it; as long as illegal immigrants know it is more advantageous to show up with a child than to come alone, this epidemic of sexual assault will not only sustain itself—it will grow.
So where is the #MeToo movement for these women and girls? Where is the outrage, the marches, the Twitter hashtags on behalf of the women and girls exploited by a system that Democrats say is not in crisis and doesn’t need reform?
According to the movement’s homepage, it was founded to “help survivors of sexual violence, particularly Black women and girls, and other young women of color from low wealth communities, find pathways to healing.” Migrant women and children would seem to fit that description—exactly.
But Democrats would rather not pay attention to these women, because helping them means they’d have to stop protesting Trump and demagoguing his efforts to impose greater border security. They’d have to send more resources to a border patrol that is lacking them, work to reform our asylum laws, and build a wall to deter illegal access (which helps reduce instances of sex trafficking).
But instead, Democrats choose their victim groups carefully, highlighting only those which will sustain the narrative of “orange man bad.”
They finger wag about the “morality” of the wall while failing at any point to discuss the morality of sustaining a system that allows rape, exploitation, and trafficking to metastasize on their watch. They apply #MeToo to the affluent, mostly white liberal groups who support them, while leaving a truly victimized group to continue to struggle and suffer in silence.
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