HHS plays shell game with refugee children

HHS plays shell game with refugee children


Last June I attended a rally outside the children’s
internment camp in Tornillo, Texas. At the time, there were a couple of hundred
refugee children detained there. That number eventually swelled to over 2800. First there were reports of child abuse; inadequate
healthcare and education services. The kids hated it there. They called it “el infierno.” Then in November federal investigators found
the contractor running the camp hadn’t been conducting proper FBI fingerprint background
checks for its employees working there. The camp released the last of its children
January 11. Remember those surveillance videos last month
of staff members hitting and pushing children? That was Southwest Key, a charter school management
company that last year scored over $600 million in federal contracts to detain refugee children. They’ve been cited over 200 times for violations
at their 16 facilities and are currently under investigation by the Justice Department for
paying their executives exorbitant salaries. They closed two of their facilities last year,
and are no longer accepting new children. I guess they figured the charter school industry
is less hassle. Thank goodness, right? Now all those kids can be reunited with their
families. Not so fast. Last week Health and Human Services announced
the juvenile interment camp in Homestead, Florida, will be almost doubling its capacity. “The news that federal officials plan a
significant expansion at the Homestead facility is a clear signal, immigration legal analysts
say, that the […] administration is not changing its policy of holding migrant teenagers
in detention, but is merely changing the location.” You remember Homestead. That was where last June HHS blocked a sitting
US senator and congresswoman from touring the facility. DHS Secretary Nielsen has ignored Miami-Dade
County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho’s requests for clarification about
the lack of certified teachers — the same DHS secretary who lied to Congress, saying
there were never any plans for family separation a year after recently discovered internal
memos prove otherwise. Co-director of the immigration law clinic
at UC Davis Holly Cooper says that Homestead suffers from the same problems as Tornillo. She told the New York Times, “We have received
multiple complaints about the facility and will make the investigation of the conditions
in Homestead a top priority for the coming month.” Let me ask you something, Miami, a city that
owes much of its success to the hard work of refugees. How much longer are we gonna put up with this
cruelty — grounded in racism and greed — in our own backyard?

Leave a Response

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2 thoughts on “HHS plays shell game with refugee children”