Children in cages, and now…mass graves

Down in Texas, they’re digging up mass graves of immigrants.

LORI BAKER: They’re unmarked, they’re unidentifiable, and there’s no information on these individuals. We anticipate at least several hundred may still be buried within the cemetery.

JOHN CARLOS FREY: As I investigate why so many lost migrants are dying in Brooks County, I hear about forensic teams from Baylor and Indianapolis universities, who have spent the past two years exhuming migrant bodies.

KRISTA LATHAM: I just feel like everybody deserves to be mourned properly. They still have parents or siblings or spouses or children that are wondering what happened to them. So we’re doing this for the families.

JOHN CARLOS FREY: For years, the previous sheriff would give the bodies to a funeral home, that charged taxpayers over a thousand dollars per body, then buried them, anonymously, in a corner of this cemetery.

Can you describe what kinds of bags the individuals were buried in?

LORI BAKER: They’re biohazard bags, trash bags. One was—

JOHN CARLOS FREY: Just regular trash bags?

LORI BAKER: Trash bags. What we found last year, there were coffins that were right next to each other on all four sides, because there were so many people buried in that area. We took one of them down, and we found skulls in between the burials. And so, we just can’t leave any dirt unturned, or we might miss somebody.

JOHN CARLOS FREY: Wait, you have coffin, coffin, coffin, and then, in between coffins, you have skulls.

LORI BAKER: Skull, sometimes.

JOHN CARLOS FREY: These are mass graves.

LORI BAKER: These are mass graves. They’re commingled. Every one is different.

JOHN CARLOS FREY: So you shouldn’t just dump a bag into a hole in the ground.

LORI BAKER: You know, would you want your son buried that way? Or your mom? Or your sister? Or your brother? I mean, this isn’t how you want someone you love to be buried.

We’re supposed to be reassured, though.

Texas says there is “no evidence” of wrongdoing after mass graves filled with bodies of immigrants were found miles inland from the U.S.-Mexico border.

Hang on. You’ve got hundreds of unidentified bodies in a mass grave in a single town, with people buried in garbage bags, and yet somehow they don’t think this is indicative of any wrongdoing.

People dying in such numbers at the border that they’ve resorted to mass graves is telling us there is something seriously wrong.


  1. raven says

    To ask an obvious question.
    What did they die of?

    In Arizona, migrants often try to run the border through the
    low lying Sonoran desert. Which gets very hot in the summer.
    They die of heat and dehydration.

    But we aren’t talking about those migrants.
    This is from Texas.

    People dying in such numbers at the border that they’ve resorted to mass graves is telling us there is something seriously wrong.

    Good question.
    What is the answer?

  2. Matt G says

    This is Texas so I’m sure the town is full of Good Christian Men and Women so there can’t POSSIBLY be any wrongdoing here….

  3. Ed Seedhouse says

    “How blinkered can one be? The mass grave is the evidence of wrongdoing”
    See Matt G? This is what happens when you dabble in irony…

  4. vucodlak says

    Let me see if I understand what is going on here:
    Migrants call 911 and report themselves, saying they need help. 911 gets their coordinates, presumably informing Border Patrol (if I’m reading the article right) right away. After several hours (spent in lethal temperatures), it becomes clear BP isn’t going to bother to show up, so local help is finally dispatched. Too late for many, many people.

    In other words, the BP has found a way to carry out exterminations without any of those messy shootings or special ‘showers.’

  5. says

    #1. Raven.

    Don’t you see the problem with using the term, “those migrants”?
    So, the Arizona “migrants” are S.O.L.?
    I am confused by your comment, do you give a shit, or don’t you?
    Are the “Arizona migrants” worthy of their horrible excruciating deaths?
    Are humans seeking help a nuisance?
    If I am misunderstanding you, please let me know.

  6. dianne says

    I remember a few decades ago, asking myself whether it was possible that some people in Nazi Germany genuinely did not know what was going on with the concentration camps and so on. If I understand correctly, there was significant population concentration before that, i.e. ghettos, so for most non-Jewish Germans, it wasn’t like their neighbors were disappearing. And if you didn’t live near the camps, you might know that people were being taken there, but not what happened next. So it struck me as perfectly possible that some people, especially those who “weren’t political” to not know.

    People can die of exposure in rural Texas. Happens to rich people who are being looked for with everyone excited about finding them even. But I’ve never heard of anyone dying of exposure and burying themself. Something nasty is going on here and has been for some time.

  7. wzrd1 says

    Texas, Arizona both have arid border areas.
    But, Brooks County is around 60 miles SW of Corpus Christi. Not arid areas and worse, looks to be around 60 miles north of the border. *That* sounds fishy to me.
    Either bodies are getting dumped in the county or groups are murdering migrants in the county and leaving them and law enforcement is ignoring it.

    I’m hoping that forensic evidence is also being examined, to hopefully ascertain if trauma may have been a possible cause of death.
    Demographics: As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 7,223 people living in the county. 89.6% were White, 0.5% Black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 7.9% of some other race and 1.4% of two or more races. 91.2% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).
    Interestingly, the county is overwhelmingly Democrat.
    Issues are human smuggling and illegals burglarizing to steal food, water or shelter.

    Perhaps a human smuggling case went sideways, such as a truck full of people abandoned when an ICE checkpoint was observed? That has happened in the past in other areas.
    That seems far more likely than an overwhelmingly Democratic county having a roaming band of murderers running around killing illegal immigrants.

  8. dianne says

    @dragoness: It’s easy for people to make excuses, though. “Honest, I thought they just moved out…” The probably badly made point is that it’s easy to be blind, especially if you benefit in some way from being so. I have a hard time believing that at least some of the deaths on the border aren’t homicides and I note that this has been going on for some time. Rural Texas is isolated and, to some degree, lawless. Death squads on the border would surprise me not at all. And I don’t know what to call our baby jails but concentration camps.

  9. raven says

    Very stupid troll:
    If I am misunderstanding you, please let me know.

    Yes, you completely misunderstood me.
    You just made up a whole lot of very negative stuff based on absolutely nothing about someone you know zero about.
    There is something drastically wrong with your mind.
    My questions were both obvious and legitimate.
    One person wzrd1 at least made an attempt to find out why hundreds of people ended up dead. A distinct difference from a crazy troll jumping in.

    The forensics should have been done when the bodies were first discovered.
    This is absolutely basic any where in the USA.
    Everyone gets a death certificate with cause of death by law.
    And in many cases, these people should have been carrying ID.
    It’s odd that they call them “unidentifiable”.

    The whole idea of digging them up is to identify them and try to
    determine cause of death.
    Going to be difficult after this much time.

  10. says

    @12. Dianne.
    Not only did their neighbors watch their former neighbors leave at gun point, they left all their belongings behind.
    Who moves out without moving… out?
    Then, if they survived the horrors, they returned to their former homes that had different families living in them.
    They did not get their things nor they homes back, either.
    Everyone knew what was going on, everyone.
    The years of laws against whole groups of peoples, not only the Jews, taught them well…
    “Don’t say a word or you will find yourself on that list” was the crowd mentality.
    Don’t underestimate what people are or are not aware of.
    All the Jews abandoning all their things and their family homes in the middle of the day at gun point gets noticed.

  11. dianne says

    @ dragoness, The “go along with it or disappear too” part is coming along nicely too. There are already proposals to strip naturalized citizens of their citizenship and to deport people without a court hearing (which means anyone can be deported at any moment because if no court hearing is needed, no proof can be provided.) I’m starting to wonder if I should take my passport with me everywhere (not because it would keep me from getting deported but because it would allow me to go from wherever I was dumped to somewhere else) or just bail while I still have a chance of getting out with the rest of my family. I suspect if I ended up in El Salvador my more right wing relatives would somehow fail to notice that I disappeared.

  12. Matt G says

    Ed Seedhouse @4- And I thought the ellipsis and the excessive use of capital letters made the sarcasm blisteringly clear. I hate the “slash s” and have never used it.

  13. microraptor says

    There have been private right-wing groups who’ve been patrolling the border with guns for years. I doubt that that’s completely unrelated to all these mass graves.

  14. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    Huh, that’s a surprise.

    I’d assumed the missing children had been cooked and served to Mar-A-Lago guests as a delicacy.

  15. khms says

    Well, there’s at least one part of fairly obvious wrong-doing here.
    The report says that

    For years, the previous sheriff would give the bodies to a funeral home, that charged taxpayers over a thousand dollars per body, then buried them, anonymously, in a corner of this cemetery.

    So, at the very least, even if it should turn out there’s no problem whatsoever with how these people died (really?), that funeral home scammed the taxpayers.

  16. rydan says

    I’m not saying they were murdered but we do have terrible healthcare. I wouldn’t be surprised if it is worse than whatever country they came from.

  17. cartomancer says

    It makes you wonder whether there’s any atrocity the US won’t commit when it comes to its southern neighbours.

  18. chrislawson says


    Given the known history of the School of the Americas, the answer is no.

  19. Holms says

    #4 and #18
    My comment #5 was not in reply to any comment in the thread, it was in reply to the ridiculous “Texas says there is “no evidence” of wrongdoing…” in the article.

  20. Matrim says

    @Matt G, 18

    I hate the “slash s” and have never used it.

    Why, if I may ask? It’s an easy and unambiguous way to convey sarcasm when tone cannot be heard. No amount of capitalization can ensure your meaning is transmitted as desired every time to every person.

  21. says

    Matrim @28
    I can’t speak for anyone else, but to me, it’s an admission of defeat; an acknowledgment that I am unable to write sarcastically without having Homer Simpson come in and say “I was BEING SARCASTIC.”
    In general, though, I’d expect that if you think you should use it, then you should use it.

  22. blf says

    A problem with the “acknowledgment that I am unable to write sarcastically without [saying so]” argument can be exemplified by The Onion: It is occasionally quoted in all seriousness by eejts. It’s a reasonable presumption their writers are able to write sarcastically (and are doing so), yet they are still sometimes taken seriously.

    The “/s” (which I also dislike), or “</snark>” (which I myself use on occasion, along with its counterpoint, “</not-snark>”), is a hint to go back and check yer assumptions. That does not prevent eejits misinterpreting, but can help the tired, lazy, or too-quick reader. (When I get taken in, which does happen, it’s usually because I was tried or read too quickly.)

    As mentioned by others, “/s” and similar is a variant on the original purpose of Usenet emoticons (“:-)” and others) — to help compensate for general lack of other clues† in text. In (pure) text, the only clews† are the text (words / sentences…) and its formatting (e.g., paragraph layout). At the time emoticans were proposed, emphasis, non-“Ascii” / non-Latin-script (Καλημέρα κόσμε), and other typesetting tricks were not widely available. Modern printed material, even it they do not use colour, have a wider range of techniques available to convey information and intent. Which does not mean there aren’t any authours who perhaps should use “:-s”, “/)”, or whatever.

      † See, I can spell “clew” / “clue” both ways !

  23. says

    Not big on emoticons, either, but I recall the days of Amateur Press Associations in the 70s when we were putting little abbreviations in, like S,AS (smiling, always smiling) to try and put ‘tone’ in, and avoid misunderstanding on those occasions, such as when we thought of something scathing to say but didn’t want to hurt anyone with it.

    Everything always ends up being misused, though. I long wished for universal hand signs to say “thank you,” “excuse me,” and “I am so sorry” on the road, but they would quickly be rendered useless by clueless jerks using them to add insult to injury.

    Someone was wishing for a sarcasm font not long ago, and I predicted that if there was one, it would quickly be misused by being applied to utterly sincere and heartfelt remarks.

  24. blf says

    Oh yeah, the it-will-be-misused problem is very very real, even in face-to-face encounters where there is essentially the entire range of signals available plus an immediate reply-response capability. (Obviously, not everything is available in all face-to-face encounters; e.g., if a participant is blind or has great difficultly in picking up social signals, &tc)

    There’s also the misunderstanding problem, which can affect both authors and readers. A variant of this is someone whose English(or whatever language) skills are poor — e.g., EFL / ESL — and is trying to ensure they are understood even if their writing is not-(yet-)too-clear.†

    Perhaps a point here is one should rely neither exclusively nor always on one form of signaling. Different signals — good writing, explicit statements, emoticans & similar, typesetting capabilities, disclaimers, and so on — have their time & place, and can be used, and more than one used. Deciding what to use — and when — is perhaps an art ?

      † A variant of that is to deliberately put hints into the text to assist on points which are frequently misunderstood. For instance, I tend to write “left→to→right”, using arrows pointing in the proper direction (“→” or “->”) instead of spaces or hyphens, as I have observed my French colleagues, even the ones fluent in English, are surprisingly often confused / uncertain which direction is left(←) and right(→). And I am have trouble with gauche(←) et droite(→) !

  25. xiphias says

    I think it’s important to note that the article about the mass graves is from 2015. Our horrific treatment of migrants predates Trump, and I fear that when he’s out of office we’ll collectively go back to pretending these things are okay, or just isolated incidents.