Homeland Security labelled a group of volunteer doctors as "radical political activists"

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/12/13/homeland-security-labelled-a-g.html


NPR did this story this morning. So yeah, apparently advocating for universal vaccination is now sufficient to get you labeled a “radical political activist.” Well, I guess I am, then. Me and Abby Hoffman, raging against the dying of democracy. It could be worse, I guess.


a “basic regard for human life” is now considered radical

Where has the author of this been for the past several years? (Decades?)


The tweet, or even any public response from DHS is stupid. Just stupid PR.

But I can follow why doctors might get turned away. Someone shows up with needles and vials that you don’t know asking for physical contact with detainees, you don’t just let them in. Chances are they are good people with good intentions, but how do you confirm? So obviously there should be a way of credentialing volunteers. Local schools manage it. DHS should be no less capable.

Unfortunately, whoever gives the thumbs up will be overly cautious. One sensitivity for the credentialing might be separating people who are there purely to help vs those that will use the access for PR or politics. So it might seem less risky to turn everyone away and take the heat than allow access and end up on TV the next day.


Which part of this is “radical,” exactly? Is it the belief in vaccines? Treating immigrants like human beings? Trying to prevent disease from spreading? Or handing out free healthcare?

All of the above. Don’t you know, microbes only attack the undeserving brown illegal immigrants, and not white people who can afford health insurance. And the flu bug will be stopped by the fences and walls around the detention centre. That’s science!


Nope, policy is a blanket “No” to vaccination of detainees. Has nothing to do with credentialing or verification, it has to do with DHS disallowing any vaccination of detainees in their custody. We had a mumps outbreak in the Farmville detention center here due to this policy, but it was contained to the detainees and since no “deserving white citizens” got sick, it was considered a big fat nothingburger and there was no response. There have already been children who died of the flu in custody. Died preventably. Evil is as evil does, man.


I’m going to be lazy and ask rather than research. Is the policy against vaccination or outside source of vaccination?

I’m under no illusion I’m going to solve jack squat. Just wondering if there is a loophole that could be exploited.

Any vaccination. The basis seems to be that DHS “should” only be holding them for 72 hours so vaccination programs would be “unmanageable.” Of course, that 72 hour thing is a joke, but the it gives them whatever fig leaf they think they need. So nope, “No vaccine for you!”


You know, reading the link you gave, it’s plain that DHS is refusing to vaccinate. But their reason and logic shouldn’t prevent outside sources of vaccination. I don’t see them budging, but by washing their hands of vaccination, they open a door to 3rd parties handling “the complexities of operating vaccination programs.”

That’s predicated on them giving a shit. Still, if I were them and there were a way to polish my image on someone else’s dime, I’d find a way.

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Well, this, I think, is the catch. IMHO, this is less a “reason” than an excuse to increase the suffering and burden upon a disfavored population. Make it so horrible that they will stop coming. The Trump admin has been very open about this theory. And if they die, hey, it’s fewer to deal with, right?


Physician and radical political activist:


I learned a new thing today! Had no idea Che was a doctor. Very cool!


It’s a three month program to be a border guard, as opposed to a decade of schooling/training, more stringent monitoring and licensing to be an MD. If they’re worried about unqualified people having access to detainees…


Now we know what book you either never attempted to read, or abandoned quickly. :smirk:


It does seem, then, that this was (to put it callously) a publicity stunt aimed at shining a light on this very real nightmare for detainees. That is, qualified as they may have been to give the vaccines, they went there (with press in tow?) fully expecting to be turned away.

Randy Hayes, founder of Rainforest Action Network, has pointed out that the root of the word “radical” is the same as for “radish” which is to say “root.” Radical action gets right to the root of the problem. So, they should have no problem being labeled “radical” for their wise approach.

I feel the same about the “radical” branding as I did when George HW Bush labeled Dukakis as a “Liberal,” making it sound like a swear word. Dukakis backpedaled when he should have gone head on and said “yes, the democratic party is typically liberal in its politics - that is what defines our parties’ differences.” He could have made fun of Bush for trying to make it a bad word. Instead, he caused the DNC to shift to the right.

Spot on!


Guilty, although, in fairness, that list is very very long. Knowledge is both long and deep, and life is short.


So they won’t mind that these docs set up camp RIGHT OUTSIDE THE MAIN GATES to offer free flu shots, right?

But no, they’ll be whisked immediately to a court in an undisclosed location, then onto whatever deportation procedure.


It’s a farm team for far right news pundits. People work there in hopes of being drafted to the majors.


But they would be tarnishing their image with the 27% of the population that explicitly supports cruelty to immigrants. Remember, ICE’s approval rating went up slightly when an officer ran over protesters with his truck.


A medical 501c3 nonprofit organization in the USA will have checked all the credentials of the medical professionals in their volunteer pool and will have specific protocols for who does what, when, and where. The medicine that they bring will have come from a reputable source and be verifiable in their records. It would be simple for CBP or the private companies that run the migrant detention centers to request information from the nonprofits involved such as copies of practitioner licenses and sources of medicines used. In fact, those things are often requested by governmental and non-governmental agencies when even the most friendly of collaborations are set up.

Furthermore, if the basic practices of documenting licensure and sources of medicines are not followed, the organization can face legal repercussions that include both civil and criminal penalties.

In short, “How would you ever know if the medical care is legit…” is just idle hand wringing that doesn’t relate to the real situation.