The Government Is Sending Immigrant Children to Abusive Shelters

The Trump administration’s family separation policy – one that tore thousands of young children away from their families and dumped them into immigration detention — has caused outrage across the United States. While Democrats in Congress rallied around ending the practice, Republicans refused to sign on – and then Donald Trump drafted an executive order “ending family separation.”

Of course, what the order actually does is allow the government to detain families together, indefinitely — even when they have committed no crime. Asking for asylum is not a crime, and neither is crossing the border to do so.

This executive order doesn’t do anything to reunite those separated children or the numerous unaccompanied minors, so what happens for them next?

We actually already know the answer to that question, because children in immigration detention have been a pressing concern during both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations — and contrary to popular belief, the media absolutely covered this issue.

These children will be shuttled to various “shelters” across the United States, and the news about those conditions is grim. A shocking investigation from the staff of the Texas Observer found, for example, that Texas shelters were allowed to wildly exceed capacity because of the huge number of children being interned by the Trump administration.

Meanwhile, the Texas Monthly found that an official at Southwest Key, the “nonprofit” running child internment camps in Texas, left the Border Patrol after a child pornography charge –but was happily accepted to work with vulnerable immigrant children by this private entity.

But it gets worse. A team of reporters at Reveal News found that over the last four years, the government has been sending children to private “shelters” with documented issues of abuse, and taxpayers have paid $1.5 billion for the privilege.

The treatment discussed in the report is shocking and horrifying: Medical neglect, sexual abuse, deaths, forcible medication, physical assault and more. The team also found instances where people who clearly would have failed background checks were employed in these settings, illustrating that the Southwest Key incident was not a one-off.

Almost none of these private, for-profit companies providing “sheltering” services lost their contracts over patterns of abuse. Those that did had lengthy lists of citations from state officials who observed serious problems on site, with laundry lists of documented issues that should have closed such facilities long before the state finally terminated its service agreements.

These findings are disturbing, paralleling the kind of abuses experienced by adults in ICE detention facilities. Many advocates are very concerned for children who’ve been separated from their families and transported thousands of miles. As these children enter the foster system, some critics fear they could be placed for adoption — even though they have families who are frantic to be reunited with them.

An infamous evangelical Christian group with ties to the Trump administration is already “fostering” immigrant children, with advocates fearing that Bethany Children’s Services may push those children into adoption, violating their rights and potentially making family reunification impossible. Meanwhile, bigoted laws allow the same organization to refuse to work with LGBQT parents.

The best outcome for unaccompanied children in government detention is reunification with their families, whether they arrived alone or were forcibly separated.

Take Action!

Join Care2 activists calling for the government to reunite families. Consider contacting your elected officials to ask why we’re wasting billions of dollars on detaining people, rather than seeking more humane alternatives — like allowing asylum seekers to remain in the community while their applications are processed.

Creating a Care2 petition is easy. If you have an issue you care deeply about, why not start your own petition? Here are some guidelines to help you get started and soon the Care2 community will be signing up to support you.


Photo Credit: Fabrice Florin/Flickr


Marie W
Marie W6 months ago

Thank you for sharing

Chad A
Chad Andersonabout a year ago

Thank you!

Winnie A
Winn Adamsabout a year ago

The current administration cares NOT AT ALL what happens to these children. tRUMP brings shame to America. This did NOT have to happen at all. Shame on tRUMP and all who serve him.

Amanda M
Amanda Mabout a year ago

SURE, Twitler's regime is all about "family values!" Apparently there's a little asterisk at the end of that phrase that reads "As long as they're rich, hetero, white, and the 'right' version of Christianity!" The Rethuglican Religious Reich needs to get off their collective keisters and follow their own version of my Rule #36: You made the mess, YOU clean it up!

Brian F
Brian Fabout a year ago

Showing pictures of children detained during the Obama administration to make it appear like it happened in Trump's administration is dishonest, cruel and heartless. Obama also separated families, but he gets the pass, by the corrupt Democrats who have an endless quest to bring down Trump.

Brian F
Brian Fabout a year ago

Nancy Pelosi is worth 100 million dollars. Why doesn't she help these children? Many Democrats like Maxine Waters are wealthy yet they do nothing to help the poor. The Democrats complain about Trump, but Obama had detention centers too. Bill Clinton supported tough immigration laws. So like the phony Russia investigation, the corrupt Democrats are using this phony immigration crisis to bash Trump over the head, and make him look like he is cruel, when he is simply enforcing laws both parties have refused to enforce. Like Obama who took $400,000 as a reward for not prosecuting one banker, and Bill Clinton who took $500,000 from a Russian bank, and Hillary who took 22 million from Wall Street, and the prison industry, care about immigrants. The only thing the corrupt Democrats care about is the money they get from Wall Street, the prison industry, big pharma, and corporations.

Paul B
Paul Babout a year ago

"After an extended monologue clearly aimed at hyping the pathos of the illegal immigrant children who have been separated from their illegal immigrant parents because their parents have committed a crime, Maddow finally showed her viewers how these children are being treated.
It’s not exactly a horror show out of Charles Dickens’ London.
What MSNBC liberal viewers saw – primed to expect the worst by the known-to-be weepy, melodramatic Maddow – were children wearing clean clothes and being cared for in clean surroundings that were probably superior to most inner-city schools Democrats love to keep American children confined in.
What they did not see were children being abused or malnourished (the food that’s visible looks markedly better than the school lunches Michelle Obama tried to force down the throats of America’s schoolchildren)."

This is best the left can offer as an alternative? Appears to be a huge difference.

Paul B
Paul Babout a year ago

"The anonymous woman found “no relief” in the United States, where she was held for two months in a for-profit immigration detention center in New Mexico back in 2014.

“The day-to-day conditions were horrible. The food was often expired, the milk was spoiled, and we weren’t provided with snacks for our children between meals,” she wrote.

She explained that sometimes food was thrown out because of concerns regarding rats in her dorm and said children often went to bed hungry, while clean water also was hard to come by.

“It was no place for human beings, let alone for families with small children,” she wrote.

The woman said children in the Obama-era detention center didn’t receive proper medical attention, which she says resulted in at least one death, and staffers talked down to the detainees."

This is what life was like for immigrants under Obama. Now they are complaining it is too cold in the tents.

Cathy B
Cathy Babout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

Teresa A
Teresa Antelaabout a year ago

Petition signed of course