In May, the Trump administration started its “zero-tolerance” policy to end illegal immigrants from crossing the border. In the weeks that follow, we are seeing just how dire the situation is for the children of these undocumented immigrants. Not only are the separated from their parents, but they also live in what reporters describe as a prison.
Journalist, Jacob Soboroff (@jacobsoboroff), was one of the first journalists and reporters invited to visit the Casa Padre center in Brownsville, Texas. It’s a former Walmart store, which has been converted into Texas “shelter” for immigrant children.
The journalists weren’t allowed to photograph the center, but the Department of Health and Human Services provided photographs and video clips to the public.
But after visiting the center, Soboroff reported, “I have been inside a federal prison before. I’ve been inside several county jails. This place is called a shelter but effectively these kids are incarcerated.”
There are approximately 1,500 immigrant boys living in 250,000 square feet. But overcrowding isn’t the only concern here. The boys are only allowed to spend two hours a day outside. This means they’re spending 22 hours within a holding center already filled to capacity.
While they don’t sleep in cages, and each have their own bed, the living arrangements are grim and unhealthy.
In fact, psychological distress is a problem for some of these children, and some are even being medicated for mental health problems without their parents knowledge and consent.
To top it off, migrant children are welcomed by a mural of President Trump, and a quote from his 1987 book, “Art of the Deal.” The quote says, “Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war.”
What makes this quote unnerving is that it refers to Trump’s unsuccessful attempt to evict tenants from their apartments back in 1985. In place of their apartments, Trump wanted to build luxury high rise condominium apartments. In the end, Trump lost this “battle” and the tenants were able to live in their homes.
But how will it end for the immigrant children separated from their parents?