Thursday, December 21, 2006

American Gulags for Children

Pachacutec has an important post up up at Firedoglake this morning here. It is a must read for for the holidays and it is an important call for action. Right here in our country, on American soil, in Texas and Pennsylvania hundreds of children are imprisoned with their families and with just Christmas a few days away are looking at a very bleak holiday indeed. This is a tragedy and must be corrected now.

Latina Lista has been doing fantastic work on the story of the truly evil ICE roundup of immigrant children and families, which has in many cases left American citizen children effectively orphaned. Now, we learn of American concentration camps for brown people, holding hundreds of children, just in time for Christmas, here on mainland American soil. As allied forces liberated Europe after defeating Germany, the undesirables of the Nazi regime were set free. Who will liberate these people?

Here is part of what Latina Lista has to say:

One of the more disturbing stories that surfaced after the Swift meat plant raids was how too many children were left without a parent and/or farmed out to friends and families with no immediate word on how they will be reconnected with their mami and papi.

But if news filtering out of one of the newly designated immigrant detention centers for families is any indication, no undocumented parent is going to open their mouth and claim their children if the whole family is going to be subjected to what is becoming known as the first known concentration camp on American soil in the 21st Century.

The T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas (on the outskirts of Austin, Texas) is a private detention facility operated by Corrections Corporation of America. It and a smaller center in Pennsylvania are the only two facilities in the country that are authorized to hold non-Mexican immigrant families and children on noncriminal charges.

What does this mean?

It means that at the Taylor facility of the 400 people "held" there, 200 are children. And all are families that can be held there for whatever length of time without due process conducted in a timely manner.

To top it off, as long as the men, women and children are held there, the facility's operator draws a daily profit - per person.

The children range in age from infants on up.


Jeans and t-shirts have been replaced with jail uniforms; children are issued uniforms as soon as they can fit into them — and everyone must wear name tags, even the babies.

Lawyers are reporting that the families are receiving substandard medical care and becoming ill from the food being served them. Children are losing weight and people are complaining of migraine-type headaches.

Those clients who are asylum seekers, say the lawyers, are continually suffering trauma on top of the trauma they've already undergone in their home countries - all without receiving any kind of psychological treatment.

Originally, the detention facilities were touted by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff as a way to keep families together while waiting for their cases to come up for court review.

Well, they are accomplishing that goal - to the exclusion of being allowed any outside contact with the rest of the world, aside from those who have lawyers.

The plight of these families caught in a government-sanctioned Hell is slowly spreading (Texas Civil Rights Review, Austin's American Statesman Editorial,American Statesman article) but with Christmas less than a week away these families truly need a miracle to let them know that the outside world knows that they are there — not to mention, the children who need to know that Santa or Los Tres Reyes, or the other Holiday entities observed by those who are not Mexican or Latin American, will know where to find them.

This is crushing information and this kind of stuff being done by my government makes me insane and ashamed. If you have a few minutes in all the rush of the holidays it would make an impact if you took some time this holiday season, while congress is out of session and your representatives are back home, to contact the local offices of your senators and congressmen and tell them this is immoral, unAmerican, and it has to stop. If you wanted something truly good for the soul to do this holiday season, this is it. Please act. These families and children have no hope without you.

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