As harrowing reports from the detention facilities housing immigrant children come to light, the humanitarian crisis on the United States-Mexico border also comes more into focus.
The latest, yet equally disturbing, revelation showed how migrant children who were separated from their parents under the Trump administration’s notorious “zero tolerance” policy were placed in an empty office building in Phoenix, which was not even licensed by the state of Arizona for childcare.
A concerned neighbor, Lianna Dunlap, noticed a group of migrant children being taken inside the vacant building which had darkened windows, no kitchen, limited restroom facilities and just very few amenities.
Growing suspicious of the situation, Dunlap decided to film dozens of immigrant kids in sweat suits, with several speaking Spanish, being ushered inside the facility in early June.
An investigative report by non-profit new organization Reveal found a major U.S. defense contractor, MVM, which once provided security for CIA facilities in Iraq, is now a participant in the ugly business of housing immigrant children.
Though the company hasn’t explicitly admitted to it, MVM signed a long-term lease on a building in Phoenix in March, around the same time when Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the draconian policy.
In fact, according to Reveal, since 2014, MVM has raked $248 million in contracts to transport the immigrant children.
As per the building’s lease, the facility wasn’t supposed to be used for activities like jailing kids and even MVM has claimed it doesn’t operate child shelters. But, Dunlap’s video told a different story altogether.
The report said the footage showed “workers pulling up in white vans and leading dazed children into the building. When she asked questions, she said the workers responded with silence or terse answers.”
“There’s been times where I drive by and I just start crying because, you know, it’s right behind my house,” Dunlap told Reveal. “I don’t know and I think that’s the worst part – not knowing what’s actually going on in there and just hoping that they’re OK.”
After the video surfaced, an MVM spokesman told the organization the building was indeed being used as a “temporary holding place” for kids who are being transported from the Phoenix’s airport to other locations.
However, two days after President Donald Trump rescinded the family separation policy, the neighbors spotted children being driven away from the building in five unmarked white vans.
What’s more horrifying, the neighbors said for the three weeks the kids were inside the building they never saw them come out. So, basically, kids who were ripped apart from their parents in a foreign country were not even allowed to leave the godforsaken building even for a while. That’s just tragic.
Banner Image Credits: Reuters