In May, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced U.S. will prosecute all immigrants who try to enter the country unlawfully. Since then, the zero-tolerance policy has succeeded in snatching away hundreds of children from their parents’ arms in just two weeks.
Devastating stories of family separations have emerged that depict the brutality of the Trump administration. Since the policy was announced, a first group of journalists was allowed to enter a shelter for detained child migrants in Brownsville, Texas.
MSNBC’s correspondent Jacob Soboroff said in a video tweet that he is about to enter The Casa Padre shelter, a former Walmart, where more than one thousand unaccompanied migrant boys had been detained. He added no cameras are allowed in facility which is why he will share details later.
After a couple of hours, Soboroff shared details of his tour. The details he tweeted were harrowing and were proof the children are not in a shelter but are incarcerated.
The reporter said the facility is the largest licensed childcare facility in the country where boys aged 10-17 were detained. Although four boys are supposed to sleep in each room, the facility has stuffed five boys in each room.
Out of the currently detained boys, nearly 500 children are part of the new batch separated under the “zero tolerance policy.” He added the children are only allowed to be outside the facility for fresh air for only two hours of the day. Out of the two hours of freedom that they get, one hour is free time and one hour is structured. The rest of their day is spent “caged” inside the shelter house.
“These children are allowed outside, Chris, where we are, in the fresh air, for two hours a day. And the rest, 22 hours a day, they're inside a former Walmart,” said Soboroff Chris Hayes on MSNBC Tuesday night.
“I have been inside a federal prison and county jails. This place is called a shelter but these kids are incarcerated,” the reporter said in a tweet.
Soboroff further said that the mega-shelter was licensed and the staff was trained. However, he was told by the president of the non-profit that operates 26 other facilities that they potential tent cities don’t necessarily have to be licensed.
This means the conditions in those shelter homes could be worse.
The reporter then added a couple of pictures that further showed the dire conditions these migrant children are living in and gave proof that the mega-shelter was no less than a prison.
A set of pictures showed the boys standing in a queue to get food. He added that these kids were given food on rotating shifts. After each boy received his food tray, an employee then scanned his barcode wristband.
Soboroff further said lights go out at the facility at 9 P.M. every night and each boy has about 40sq feet of living space each.
Here are some photos of the boys in the cafeteria.— Jacob Soboroff (@jacobsoboroff) June 14, 2018
This is not a school cafeteria.
Hundreds called to eat at a time on rotating shifts.
When I told @chrislhayes it felt like a prison or jail, I was thinking about this. pic.twitter.com/feZI46SPAc
In another tweet, Soboroff tweeted pictures of a massive Trump mural with a quote that read, “Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war.” He added this was one of the many murals that were placed inside the entire facility.
Starting to get some handout photos from our tour with @HHSGov.— Jacob Soboroff (@jacobsoboroff) June 14, 2018
Here’s the Trump mural I mentioned to @chrislhayes inside the shelter for incarcerated child migrants.
Also their beds and the towels they shower with. pic.twitter.com/EPEQ1VGAAF
In wake of the recent developments, a picture confiscated items began circulating on social media. The image showed items such as, toothpastes, rosary beads, blankets, etc, confiscated by Customs and Border Protection at processing centers in Arizona.
Came across these pictures (via @stevesilberman) taken by Tom Kiefer, a photographer who worked as a janitor at a Customs and Border Protection processing centers in Arizona. The Rosary beads... toothpaste, blankets, shoes confiscated from people trying to cross into the US 😰 pic.twitter.com/T6ICK4OWJ8— (((Orchid))) (@OrchidNYC) June 14, 2018
However, these images were not from 2018, they were instead taken by a janitor who worked at processing center in Ajo, Arizona, began collecting the items in 2007. He photographed the pictures over the years.
Despite the picture being old, it does not make the problem any less significant.
Although it hasn’t been reported as yet, but most likely these items and belongings are still being confiscated. It was not right back then and is certainly not right under the Trump administration where the immigration policy has toughened and children and babies are being separated from their families.
The Trump administration needs to realize that these children are not criminals. They are minors who were separated from their parents at borders who entered the United States for a better and safe future.
Banner / Thumbnail : ACF/HHS/Handout via REUTERS