Migrant children in detention center live a grim reality

Via The Register Guard | Anne Bridgman

With the news that Kirstjen Nielsen is no longer Homeland Security secretary, we learned that Trump wants to keep separating migrant families. He asserts it deters asylum seekers coming here (which is legal), even though it doesn’t.

I just returned from witnessing, at the Homestead detention center in Florida, 2,000 youth who are imprisoned because they came to the United States seeking better lives.

Thanks to Senator Jeff Merkley for bringing these prisons to light, and to other witnesses for keeping them in the spotlight.

Homestead is a for-profit prison that enriches shareholders and is exempt from state laws. Its defenders (including former Chief of Staff John Kelly, who said he’d divest from the company but was there last week) claim it’s like summer camp.

I saw otherwise. I saw children unsure when they will be reunited with loved ones, not allowed to receive hugs after the trauma of the journey here. I saw youth who blew kisses when I climbed a stepladder to see over the fence, who called “Get me out of here!” and “Help me!”

Florida is a long way from Oregon, but I had to see these children’s plight. More people need to know about them.

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