Detention of Migrant Children Has Skyrocketed to Highest Levels Ever

Federally contracted shelters for migrant children

Here is a New York Times article about the surge in the population at federally contracted shelters for migrant children.

Trump’s immigration policy is a failure and has not discouraged border crossing.   As in past years, the number of children crossing the border remained unchanged.  The effect of Trump’s immigration enforcement discouraged relatives and family friends from coming forward to sponsor children.   This has resulted in a drastic reduction in the number of children released to live with families and friends.

The shelters are overcrowded and near capacity.  Don’t forget many of these shelters are owned by private contractors who profit from this inhumane detention of children.  Shelters with little to no oversight remind me of plantations and days of slavery.  Do Trump and the Republicans believe migrant children don’t matter?

Is America’s default solution to human suffering either imprisonment/detention or violence/murder/war?  These migrant children cross the border alone.  Imagine the courage and risk to make the journey alone.  How many died en route to seek refuge or reunite with family or family friends?  Haven’t they suffered enough?   America is a great country with great minds.  Surely we can lead with humane policies that offer hope and help to children.

As the most powerful country in the world, the US is a model of democracy, though, in reality, it is not a democracy.   The international community looks to the US as a symbol of hope that anything is possible if you work hard enough.  If Americans embraced such a vision, wouldn’t that make America great?

Population levels at federally contracted shelters for migrant children have quietly shot up more than fivefold since last summer, according to data obtained by The New York Times, reaching a total of 12,800 this month. There were 2,400 such children in custody in May 2017.

The huge increases, which have placed the federal shelter system near capacity, are due not to an influx of children entering the country, but a reduction in the number being released to live with families and other sponsors, the data collected by the Department of Health and Human Services suggests. Some of those who work in the migrant shelter network say the bottleneck is straining both the children and the system that cares for them.


Source of image:  New York Times


Author: Angela Grant

Angela Grant is a medical doctor. For 22 years, she practiced emergency medicine and internal medicine. She studied for one year at Harvard T. H Chan School Of Public Health. She writes about culture, race, and health.

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