Senators, Activists Denounce Inhumane Migrant Detention Facilities

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“In this picture Imam Omar Suleiman is placing his hand on a child's hand and praying. If you look closely you can see tiny hands pressed against the tinted windows,” said an activist.

Top senators and activists, who visited the migrant facilities across the country, particularly one in McAllen, Texas, were reduced to tears after they witnessed the reprehensible conditions the immigrants and their children have to suffer in detention centers.

Designer and activist Nye Armstrong wrote on Facebook, she, along with Imam Omar Suleiman, witnessed a caged police bus filled with immigrant children being transported to a repurposed factory where they were supposed to stay. Many of the children were crying and placing their tiny hands on the windows of the bus as protesters told them in Spanish that they were not alone.

In a recent interview with MSNBC, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) described the horrors she witnessed at a detention camp in Southern California.

The Department of Homeland Security has said the children are allowed to speak to their families twice a week — after they have proven they were calling their parents or guardians with proper documentation. However, Sen. Harris discovered these children are being charged 85 cents per minute to use the phone.

The Trump administration has also reportedly rolled back protection for pregnant women in the detention centers.

“And there are pregnant women that have had miscarriages since they’ve been here, not to mention what they did in terms of resending DACA. There’s a systematic and clear constellation in policy perspective from this administration as it relates to women and children and families.”

It is not yet clear how many women have suffered miscarriages in the facilities. According to a qualified ER doctor, who volunteered to help with medical services at the detention facility, DHS told her she was “too qualified” to look after immigrants and turned her away.

 

 

Elizabeth Warren, the fiery senator from Massachusetts, who is usually seen eviscerating the Trump administration with her tongue, looked visibly shaken after she left the McAllen “processing center.”

“It’s a disturbing picture,” she said with a shaking voice. “There are children by themselves. I saw a six-month-old baby, little girls, little boys. There are mothers with their babies and with small children.”

She also described only very small children were allowed to stay with their parents and girls as young as 12 were taken away to someplace else.

“And they’re all on the concrete floors in cages,” she said. “There’s just no other way to describe it. They’re big, chain link cages on cold concrete floors and metal blankets handed out to people. People are all just waiting and frightened.”

Last week, activist George Takei, who suffered the Japanese-American internments camps during World War II when he was just 5-years-old, condemned the practice of separating children from parents. In fact, the actor, who is best known for playing Hikaru Sulu in “Star Trek,” described the experience as even worse than what he suffered.

“In one core, horrifying way this is worse,” Takei wrote, discussing the recent developments. “At least during the internment of Japanese-Americans, I and other children were not stripped from our parents. We were not pulled screaming from our mothers’ arms. We were not left to change the diapers of younger children by ourselves.”

Prison employees at a federal prison in Mojave Desert, California, are warning poor medical conditions in the facility may put detainees, as well as staff at risk. In fact, on June 19, an existing inmate, not a new immigrant detainee, committed suicide on June 19.

Staff at Federal Correctional Complex, Victorville, reported there are 4,500 inmates at the facility and hardly any medical team. Initial medical screenings of the detainees were rushed and they believe comprehensive check-ups of all the migrants will not be completed in the 2-week standard period.

Federal prisons have a policy requirement that for every 1,000 inmates, there should be one physician, three physician’s assistants, a registered nurse, one or two medical assistants, two health technicians and a person form medical clerical work. However, the Victorville complex only has two physicians and just six physician assistants for its 4,500 people.

A former employee of the prison stated the prison prioritizes saving money over detainees’ health.

The detainees’ clothes are also not washed for over a week, which increases risks of infection. The prison also has not supplied shower shoes to the inmates, which is a breach of protocol. ICE has brought a phone translation system to combat the language barrier but staff says it’s very rudimentary and not sufficient for detailed medical discussions.

Some patients are also denied immediate medical care. One patient, who had severe abdominal pain, loose bowels and vomiting was not allowed to be sent to a hospital. Fortunately, he recovered but staff said his condition could have been fatal.

“It is the worst kind of callousness to another human being’s life,” a current staffer told HuffPost. “They could care less about the life of detainees or inmates at this point. They are just like cockroaches to them.”

Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters

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