Detention centers for children

It takes my breath away.


In April, Attorney General Jeff Sessions put in place a “zero tolerance” immigration policy at our southern border that led to children being taken forcibly from their parents and placed in detention facilities in California, Arizona and Texas. There are 27 detention facilities for children being run by a private organization called Southwest Key Programs that contracts with Homeland Security. The parents do not know where their children are and the children do not know where their parents are. No one is allowed inside these centers.

Recently, even U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon was not allowed to enter a detention facility for immigrant children in Brownsville, Texas. Think about it. An elected representative of the American people was turned away from a Texas immigration center for children. The center is a former Walmart with the doors and windows blocked so that no one can see in.

Taking children from their families at the border is cruel and inhumane and totally antithetical to American ideals. Many of these families are seeking asylum. What sort of country allows such a barbaric action under the guise of law and order? Children belong with their parents. This “strategy” of our government to warn people away from our border is absolutely unthinkable.

There is no doubt that these children have been traumatized by being taken from their parents, a trauma that could affect each of them for the rest of their lives. Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) is a recognized risk factor for lifelong negative impacts. Imagine the trauma. As a new grandparent, my heart breaks for these families.

Who knows what is happening to these children? There is no outcry by our elected representatives in Congress, Senators Murkowski and Sullivan, and Representative Young. Taking innocent children from their parents and imprisoning them violates their human rights. Why are we allowing such monstrous acts to take place in our name and in the name of national security?

Our collective breath being taken away leads us to action. Now. Contact your elected representatives to demand a public statement condemning this practice.

Bridget Smith,



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