Migrant Children Being Treated Worse By US Government Than We Even Thought

Anyone who’s been paying attention to the news this year couldn’t possibly have high positive opinions on the conditions of the U.S. government’s detention centers for migrant children. Sadly, it looks like we need to lower our already low expectations even further. An alarming New York Times story details how loads of migrant children are being moved to a tent city in the Texas desert.

The government created the tent city, with a capacity to hold nearly 4,000 kids, in order to address the record number of migrant children in detention centers. Although the traditional shelters and foster settings are far from dream facilities, they do guarantee and provide kids with certain services and rights.

Here, about 20 kids sleep in each tent. It operates without a license and government checkups, and safety procedures aren’t nearly as strict. The legal assistance available to kids in the other centers is all but absent in the tent city. Moreover, schooling is no longer a requirement, let alone much of an option. Apparently, the children are provided with workbooks, which they may use to guide their own learning, but there is no oversight, making the workbooks’ usefulness dubious.

One of the more shocking details to emerge is that the kids are roused from their sleep during the night and put onto buses to be transported to the tent city. It’s done without much warning so that kids cannot say goodbye to their friends and caretakers, which probably only amplifies their already fragile emotional states.

It may seem like a cruel time and manner to move kids, but there’s some “logic” behind it: The chaos of moving periods are commonly used as an opportunity for some kids to try to run away (can’t imagine why!) so by doing it when they’re tired and unprepared, it minimizes attempts to break free.

To be fair, these relaxed emergency shelter “regulations” were written by the Obama administration. At the same time, the Obama administration did not intentionally aggravate a situation to trigger an emergency to necessitate these rules being implemented.

As Care2 has previously covered, this overcrowding crisis has been created not by an influx of unaccompanied minors crossing the border, but in the policies the Trump administration has instituted they wind up keeping the children detained for much longer. In the past, most of these kids would have relatives come forward to care for them while their cases were considered, yet the Trump White House has chosen to make the process extra complicated to try to deter other children from coming to the country altogether.

To make matters worse, relatives and family friends are barely volunteering to be sponsors at this point because the Trump administration is investigating and even deporting would-be sponsors who come forward. Previously, officials avoided doing this to ensure the kids had caring homes first and foremost, but ICE currently views sponsors as highly likely to either be undocumented or know other undocumented people, and they’re using that as a “lead” to arrest people. By ICE’s own admission, 70 percent of people they’ve arrested through sponsor connections don’t even have a criminal record.

Typically, the government moves the minors to the tent city who are expected to have shorter stays – their files suggest that a sponsor may come forward or reunification with a legal guardian is potentially on the horizon. However, according to Health and Human Service’s own data, the average stay for a migrant child in detention facilities has doubled from about one month to two, so plenty of kids remain in the substandard conditions of the tent city for weeks if not months.

Take Action

Despite all the outrage the Trump administration weathered months ago due to its immigration policy, particularly that relating to children, the White House’s strategy of paying lip service while waiting for the uproar to die down seems to have worked. The situation is still highly disturbing, but the national discourse has moved on.

Please don’t forget about these kids and the conditions they’ve been placed into. Sign this petition aimed at the president demanding he put a stop to these prison-like detention centers.


Paulo R
Paulo R29 days ago

petition signed

Paulo R
Paulo R29 days ago

petition signed

KS Goh6 months ago

Thanks for the article

Danuta W
Danuta W6 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

Chad Anderson
Chad A6 months ago

Thank you.

Jetana A
Jetana A6 months ago

SHAME on the US government and its evil leader! These children must be returned to their families and reparations paid.

Sabrina Degasperi
Sabrina Degasperi6 months ago

Petition signed.

Sue H
Sue H6 months ago

Shaking my head in disgust and despair.

Mary B
Mary B6 months ago

NO NO NO! This is unacceptable ! Having a back up plan in the case of over crowding is one thing, but exaggerating the conditions so that it's needed is hideous. Trump has got to go immediately.

hELEN hEARFIELD6 months ago