Imagine children from the ages of three months and up to 17-year-old in hotels, unsupervised. Donald Trump’s White House has been detaining “hundreds, and possibly thousands of immigrant children in hotels in Phoenix and several other cities under emergency pandemic,” according to The Arizona Central. The point was to send aslyum-seeking undocumented immigrants back across American’s southern border. Let us not hear it for privatization.
U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee told the Trump administration no. It was trying to halt her September 4 order. According to that ruling, the president wanted to halt her request, which was to quit that practice while there was a pending appeal, CNN reported.
Gee gave Trump’s people until September 28 to stop putting immigrant children in hotels. The president’s practice was to quickly shoot them back across the border given the coronavirus pandemic. The private contractor is MVM Inc. working for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to court records.
Formerly, these children went to state-licensed and supervised shelters as they waited to apply for asylum.
Phoenix mayor and critic of child placement in hotels Kate Gallego said:
‘I’ve spoken to the federal government and they claimed this was a very small program. Your reporting indicates that it’s much larger than I was led to believe.’
Gallego indicated that state-licensed locations used to hold immigrant children were available:
‘Children should be kept in facilities that were designed for this purpose. [The facilities] had many beds open during this time period. I’m very concerned about this program. It needs to end.’
Attorney at the National Center for Youth Law Melissa Adamson said:
‘The government’s detention of children in unlicensed and unmonitored hotels presents a significant risk of harm to these children, as children are supervised by private contractors who do not have licensure or appropriate training in children’s development, trauma, or legal rights.’
‘The government’s detention of children in unlicensed and unmonitored hotels is particularly egregious given that there are over 10,000 available licensed beds in ORR shelters.’
Gee wrote about the risks due to “exposing children to unsupervised and potentially traumatic conditions:”
‘Defendants have failed to demonstrate how hotels, which are otherwise open to the public and have unlicensed staff coming in and out, located in areas with high incidence of COVID-19, are any better for protecting public health than licensed facilities would be. Not only are the minors and their families potentially endangered by hoteling, but so are (ICE contract) personnel, hotel staff, and other guests that stay at the hotels.’
Regarding Gee’s September 21 order, “the government cannot seem to consistently keep track of how many children” it had in custody:
‘The fact that the government cannot seem to consistently keep track of how many children it has held in its custody is disturbing, to put it mildly. It is emblematic of the problem with such an opaque, unregulated, ad hoc program.’
Twitter world went wild over these detained, unsupervised children. Check out what some of our favorite Twitter responses were below:
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