Here in America, hidden from public scrutiny, are detention facilities for mothers, children and families. Yes we, as American citizens, detain women and children behind razor wire, secure gates in locked facilities and although they are named "residential facilities", they look like prisons to me. The photographs below are from the T. Don Hutto Facility in Texas.
While many in America debate the issue of illegal immigration, the government has instituted more than 70 contracted facilities where immigrants are detained awaiting the outcome of their cases. Mothers, fathers, children. We are truly a nation of prisons. Aside from incarcerating our own population at alarming rates, we choose to incarcerate those who come to us seeking refuge from the conditions in their native countries. It seems that if we don't have a solution to a problem in our society we just build prisons, lock the problem away and pretend like it is all solved. That is called sweeping it under the rug. These are people...people who are in need of help...need a port in a storm and we lock 'em up.
From ACLU: (read more..)
In 2009, the administration wisely decided to stop detaining families at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center in Taylor, Texas, following years of ACLU litigation and other advocacy on the deplorable conditions of confinement and treatment of children at the facility. In the summer 2014, however, the administration reversed course and ramped up its efforts to detain families.
Virtually overnight the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) opened two new family detention facilities in Artesia, New Mexico, and Karnes County, Texas. And in November, ICE will start detaining families at a new detention facility in Dilley, Texas, which will have a 2,400-bed capacity and will be the single largest immigration detention facility in the nation. In just a few short months, family detention will jump from fewer than 100 beds as of May 2014 to nearly 4,000 in 2015.
That's a staggering increase of 3,900 percent in less than one year. That's not a typo.
Many of the moms and kids arriving in the United States have fled gang-related or severe domestic violence in Central America. Nonetheless, a recent complaintprepared by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Human Rights First documents allegations involving guards and staff at the detention facility in Karnes, Texas, engaged in sexual abuse and harassment of detained mothers.
History has shown that imprisoning families limits access to due process, harms the physical and mental health of children, undermines the family structure by stripping parents of their authority, and results in abuse of detainees. Moms and kids should not be locked up by our government. Rather they should be given mental health treatment and care appropriate for trauma survivors. Instead of scaling up family detention facilities, DHS should be investing in effective, humane, and cost-effective alternatives to institutional detention.
Can we not find a better solution? Do we want to be responsible for this? Is this what we want to be known for? We can do better than this! Thank you, ACLU for standing for humane treatment of immigrants in this nation.
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