An op-ed piece published in The New York Times over the weekend is calling for the public shaming of U.S. Border Patrol agents, described by the author as complacent “foot soldiers” for the Trump administration.
Kate Cronin-Furman, an assistant professor of human rights at University College London, lumps Border Patrol agents and even lawyers for the administration into the same category as those who carried out atrocities in the Holocaust and Rwandan genocide. Cronin-Furman argues that they are susceptible to “social pressure” and can be persuaded, by public shaming, to either quit their jobs or “to treat the vulnerable individuals under their control more humanely.”
The identities of the individual Customs and Border Protection agents who are physically separating children from their families and staffing the detention centers are not undiscoverable. Immigration lawyers have agent names; journalists reporting at the border have names, photos and even videos. These agents’ actions should be publicized, particularly in their home communities.
This is not an argument for doxxing — it’s about exposure of their participation in atrocities to audiences whose opinion they care about. The knowledge, for instance, that when you go to church on Sunday, your entire congregation will have seen you on TV ripping a child out of her father’s arms is a serious social cost to bear. The desire to avoid this kind of social shame may be enough to persuade some agents to quit and may hinder the recruitment of replacements. For those who won’t (or can’t) quit, it may induce them to treat the vulnerable individuals under their control more humanely.
Cronin-Furman goes even further, proposing that those who run detention centers be brought before “international bodies like the United Nations Human Rights Council” and be charged as human rights abusers.
“[Activists] should lobby for human rights investigations, for other governments to deny entry visas to those involved in the abuses, or even for the initiation of torture prosecutions in foreign courts,” writes Cronin-Furman. “For someone who is ‘just following orders,’ the prospect of being internationally shamed as a rights abuser and being unable to travel freely may be significant enough to persuade them to stop participating.”
Former ICE Director Tom Homan in an interview with Fox News on Monday called the op-ed “disgusting” and called it was it was: doxxing.
"It's disgusting," he said. "I mean, it happened to me when I was director. They doxxed me, my home address and I had 80 protesters at my house on a Sunday morning."
He slammed Cronin-Furman for "pushing a false narrative" and called for Border Patrol agents who are "taking sickness home to their own families because they're taking care of sick children" at these facilities to be paid some respect for their hard work:
"She’s pushing a false narrative,” said Homan. “I’ve been there … These Border Patrol are taking sickness home to their own families because they're taking care of sick children. They're changing diapers, they’re making formula. These agents did not sign up for this. They're fathers, mothers, sons and daughters themselves; they're doing a tremendous job and they need to be respected for it.”