(LOS ANGELES) – Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) issued the following statement in response to a news report that Julie Kirchner, a former leader of FAIR, an anti-immigrant hate group, has been appointed to establish an ombudsman office that handles complaints of civil rights violations in immigration detention centers:

“After Congress acted to attempt to impose some semblance of accountability for the deplorable conditions in immigrant detention, today’s appointment is a big fat orange middle finger to every immigrant in the world.  The fact of migration – anywhere in the world, but most certainly in the United States — should never result in being subjected to subhuman treatment.  Yet, Donald Trump has decided to put someone with a pronounced anti-immigrant ideology in charge of shaping an office to respond to complaints about the treatment of immigrants in detention.  More specifically, anyone who believes that mistreatment of immigrants is a needed and appropriate deterrent to future migration should have no role in responding to meritorious complaints of immigrant mistreatment.  Unfortunately, the disturbing ‘mistreatment is a deterrent’ mindset pervades the entire Trump administration.

“Put differently, Donald Trump fetishizes walls in the immigration arena, so he has chosen to appoint someone who will be as responsive and competent as a rock formation to oversee civil rights in immigrant detention.”