We Have a Record Number of Migrant Children in Detention Centers

A lot of Americans seem to believe that after court orders and public pressure, the Trump administration is fixing the problem of having migrant children in detention centers, but thatís hardly the case. In fact, as the New York Times explains, there are a record number of such children being detained in the U.S.

Itís no small increase, either. Currently, there are over five times more minors lingering indefinitely in detention centers than there were even just sixteen months ago. The total is now 12,800 kids, up from 2,400 last May.

It should be noted that most of these kids have not been forcibly separated from their families by the government. Other minors – usually teenagers, but thatís not always the case Ė cross into the country unaccompanied by adult relatives, so the government takes accountability for them.

The Trump administration would have you believe this ďbacklogĒ of detained children is the result of soaring illegal border crossing, when in actuality that trend has steadily decreased over the years. The real problem is that these teens are not being placed into alternative housing situations as would normally occur.

The White House is indirectly to blame for that because its aggressive immigration stance has the families and friends of the kids that would typically agree to sponsor and house them until their status can be determined are afraid to come forward to the U.S. government.

One big change as of late is that sponsors must submit their fingerprints to immigration authorities. Even the people who are in the country legally are understandably wary of having this particular administration have their records on file or just poke around in their business, potentially putting other undocumented people in their communities at risk of deportation.

More directly, the White House is also to blame for making sponsorship more difficult in general. Presumably stemming from an internal attitude that they donít want to make it easy on these kids, the process to place the migrant minors with willing sponsors has significantly slowed. Certainly, that appears to be more of a deliberate act to keep kids locked up.

As a result, migrant children are being placed into sponsor homes two-thirds less often than a year ago. And as a result of that, the existing detention centers are nearly at capacity.

The private companies that profit off these facilities certainly donít mind that. Some cost the government upwards of $750 each day per kid for jail-like conditions, which is a waste of money when kids could instead live more cheaply with sponsors as they have in previous years. Itís also terrible for the mental health of the kids who experience depression and trauma living in these conditions.

No oneís saying that when undocumented kids enter the country without their family members that thatís an easy situation for the government to sort out. The issue here is that the Trump administrationís way of handling this problem is to exacerbate it rather than finding solutions that donít include keeping children detained for extended periods of time. Surely we can do better for these kids in need, regardless of the country they were born in.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

39 comments

Jim V
Jim Ven17 hours ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Jim V
Jim Ven17 hours ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Jerome S
Jerome S17 hours ago

thank you.

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Jerome S
Jerome S17 hours ago

thank you.

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Karen H
Karen Hyesterday

Children in cages. Children being given psychotropic drugs to keep them quiet. Children being physically abused. Children being sexually abused. I'm just wondering how this makes America great?

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Anita S
Anita S4 days ago

Trump and his no backbone followers with Nazi practices. Why is not every American ashamed to the bone?

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Karen Martinez
Karen Martinez5 days ago

These children are leaving/being sent from their homes because the places from which they are coming are worse nightmares than we can imagine. A friend of mine who is a priest travels to Honduras several times a year, and he said that whatever I've heard about living in Honduras, it is worse. He goes to the far remote places with medical missions so the gangs leave them alone, but he said it is horrible and frightening. Parents want what is best for their children. The Jews in Germany sent their children to England, Switzerland, anywhere to get them away from the Nazis. This isn't all that different. But, our administration will not allow these kids to be taken in and raised here safely because they are brown, and they speak another language (oh, but everybody loves Taco Tuesday!). This is a travesty. Nothing will make any difference until the lilly-livered whites drop their stupidity and realize that people deserve safety and respect regardless of skin color. Maybe they should look a few generations back and examine why their ancestors came to this country.

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Joan E
Joan E5 days ago

The corporate pigs are getting rich locking innocent children in cages. These hellholes must be outlawed.

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Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson6 days ago

Thank you.

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Dot A
Dot A7 days ago

As Freya states, these children will be scarred for their entire lives. Some may find a way out of their horrible set of psychological and social-economic distress, but, realistically speaking, the odds are against them. As if their lives weren't in trouble already,...... Our nation is acting shamefully! And too many of our population make excuses for this bullying behavior, just to make some strong deterrent against immigrants. It is unconscionable! We are not coming across as wise and benevolent people~ We are doing vastly inhumane things to our fellow beings, and doing these things to children makes us an especially abhorrent nation. No wonder so many nations are backing away from this once 'Great Nation!' We cannot be trusted with children!!! BAD PRESIDENT!!!

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