Tag Archives: Immigrant detention centers

Black Sites for Kids: Rights Advocates Outraged Over Child Immigrants Being Held at ‘Off-the-Books’ Detention Facilities

“Good lord.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-19-2019

Immigrant rights advocates were horrified Tuesday by a new report which confirmed that the Trump administration is sending some immigrant children to clandestine facilities that are not known to their families and lawyers and are not equipped to provide care to vulnerable minors.

An investigation by Reveal on Monday showed that at least 16 young immigrants—as young as nine years old and in need of mental or behavioral health treatment—have been sent by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to “off-the-books” facilities outside the network of federally-funded detention centers. The administration is housing immigrant children with an even greater degree of secrecy than was previously known, in violation of U.S. law. Continue reading

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Trump to Divert Up to $385 Million From Crucial Health Programs To Pay for ‘Government-Sanctioned Child Abuse’

Added to what was taken last year, say critics, that’s “almost $1 billion in HHS funds diverted from real public health emergencies to sink into manufactured ones.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-8-2019

The Health and Human Services Department is diverting funds from HIV and cancer prevention programs and other health programs to pay to detain thousands of unaccompanied minors who cross the U.S-Mexico border. Photo: Pride Immigration

Alzheimer’s patients, lower-income preschool children, and HIV and cancer patients are among the Americans whose needs may go unmet so that the Trump administration can afford to detain thousands of migrant children.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar told Congress this week that he plans to divert $385 million from numerous healthcare programs to pay for detention centers across the country where more than 15,000 young undocumented immigrants are currently being held. Continue reading

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‘Shocking’ Report Reveals Thousands of Migrant Children Have Been Sexually Abused While in US Custody

“The horrifying conditions these children face is a human rights emergency that won’t be solved with a wall.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-26-2019

The Tornillo facility, a shelter for children of detained migrants, in Tornillo, Texas, U.S., is seen in this undated handout photo provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, obtained by Reuters June 25, 2018. (Photo: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Handout)

A House hearing on the Trump administration’s family separation policy on Tuesday revealed that thousands of children in U.S. custody over the past five years have been subjected to sexual abuse in migrant detention centers.

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) released documents from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) showing that more than 4,500 complaints of sexual abuse against minors were filed between 2014 and 2018. More than 1,300 complaints were referred to the Department of Justice. Continue reading

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‘The US Government Has Scarred My Daughter and Me for Life’: Families Sue Trump Over Deliberate and ‘Inexplicable Cruelty’

“The government’s use of emotionally traumatizing children to try to achieve a policy objective very clearly meets all the legal elements of the offense intentional infliction of emotional distress.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-12-2019

Photo: ACLU

Accusing the Trump administration of deliberate and “inexplicable cruelty” perpetrated against them under it’s so-called “zero tolerance” immigration policy, six families have filed suit against the U.S. government for the harm and “lasting trauma” they continue to suffer.

In the filing, six mothers described having their children torn away from them, with officials giving them little to no information about where their children were, if they were safe, and when they would be reunited—treatment that the lawyers involved in the suit argue fit the legal definition of intentionally inflicting emotional distress. Continue reading

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‘Crimes Against Humanity’: Abuses Persist at Immigrant Detention Centers as DHS Hands Out ‘Waivers’ to Contractors

Contractors have been granted waivers to use tear gas on detainees and after failing to report a sexual assault, an inspector general’s report found

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-4-2019

A new report by the inspector general of the Homeland Security Department found persistent abuses at immigration detention facilities that the department has done little to address. (Photo: Customs and Border Protection)

In another sign the Trump administration is violating the rights of immigrants, a poorly regulated system of handing out “waivers” to contractors which run immigrant detention facilities has allowed many abuses at the facilities to persist for years, according to a damning new report by the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The report found that federal immigration authorities are failing to police both private and public contractors which run detention facilities currently holding more than 45,000 immigrants each day. Instead of revoking contracts, fining the businesses and public entities which are operating the centers, or taking other actions to ensure abuses don’t continue once they’re discovered, DHS is simply granting waivers to the contractors for violations including failure to report sexual assaults in their facilities. Continue reading

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Watch: Devastating New ‘Land of the Free’ Music Video Decries Violence and Cruelty of Trump’s America

Set to a short film by Spike Lee, The Killers take on Trump’s wall, tear-gassing of asylum-seekers, mass incarceration, and gun violence

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-15-2019

Filmmaker Spike Lee spent a few weeks in 2018 documenting migrants’ experiences at the U.S.-Mexico border for The Killers’ “Land of the Free” music video, over which he reportedly was given full creative control. (Photo: YouTube/screenshot)

In a powerful indictment of cruelty across the United States, The Killers’ new song “Land of the Free”—released Monday with a devastating music video directed by Spike Lee—decries President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall, the dehumanization and abuse of asylum-seekers, mass incarceration, institutional racism, and the nation’s refusal to address the epidemic of mass shootings and gun violence.

Watch: Continue reading

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Merkley Calls for FBI Perjury Probe into Homeland Secretary Nielsen After Child Detention Memo Leaked

“Merkley deserves a ton of credit for his leadership here. This is good, honest,

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-18-2019

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., Jan. 16, 2018. Photo: DHS/flickr

After releasing a damning draft memo that showed the Trump administration planned to “traumatize” migrant children with family separations and expedite deportation by denying asylum hearings, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) on Friday called for an FBI investigation into whether Homeland Security Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen lied when she testified before Congress about the policy.

In a letter sent to FBI Director Christopher Wray, the senator noted that “compelling new evidence has emerged revealing that high-level Department of Homeland Security officials were secretly and actively developing a new policy and legal framework for separating families as far back as December 2017.” Continue reading

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How Does Trump ‘Even Sleep at Night’? Cuts to Cancer Research, Head Start, and Women’s Shelters Among $226 Million Diverted to Pay for Child Detention

“If you wrote this plot into a movie, I would have said it was over-the top.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-20-2018

Photo: US Customs and Border Control

Along with tens of thousands of children and families, cancer patients, Americans with substance abuse disorders, and victims of domestic violence are among the casualties of President Donald Trump’s detention of young immigrants—according to government documents outlining the administration’s plan to divert millions of dollars away from programs serving those populations.

Yahoo News reported that in order to continue detaining more than 13,000 children currently in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is proposing that up to $266 million be taken from other government health programs. Continue reading

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‘Deeply Flawed’ Report Admits Immigrant Youth Put in Solitary and Restrained With Bags Over Their Heads, But Claims ‘No Abuse’ Found

The treatment teens were subjected to in a Virginia facility “are unacceptable and un-American, whether or not they meet the state’s legal threshold for abuse or neglect,” says ACLU

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-13-2018

Virginia state investigators confirmed that immigrant children who were held at Shenendoah Valley Detention Center were strapped to chairs with bags placed over their heads—but said their treatment did not meet the definition of abuse. (Photo: Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center)

Completing a month-long probe into allegations of abuse at a detention facility in Staunton, Virginia, state investigators confirmed that immigrant children were strapped to chairs with bags placed over their head, as several had alleged—but claimed that this treatment did not meet the definition of abuse.


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‘That This Even Has to Be Said Is Grotesque’: Judge Orders Trump Admin to Stop Drugging Migrant Children

“Children are suffering abusive treatment and cruel and inhumane conditions in government detention centers.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-31-2018

Photo: Episocopal Diocese of West Texas

U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee of Los Angeles ruled on Monday that a Texas detention center for unaccompanied migrant children and those forcibly separated from their families by the Trump administration must stop administering psychotropic drugs without parental consent.

“A federal court has now confirmed what we already knew: Children are suffering abusive treatment and cruel and inhumane conditions in government detention centers,” responded Jess Morales Rocketto of Families Belong Together, a coalition of groups opposing the administration’s family separation policy. “Children belong with their families, not scared, alone, and subject to abuse in prison-like conditions.” Continue reading

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