Our system is broken. In early June, Trump cut off funding for activities and resources that vulnerable unaccompanied migrant children need. He took away vital things such as English classes, and legal aid. These are crucial to their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. The reason given for the cuts was they were deemed as, “not directly necessary for the protection of life and safety” according to spokesman Mark Weber from the Department of Health and Human Services. He shared further that, “the program could run out of money in late June, and the agency is legally obligated to direct funding to essential services.”
This reasoning is a poor and vile excuse. How can sports activities, language classes, and legal aid not be essential? How can these kids who have been removed from their families through no fault of their own be expected to speak for themselves without knowing a thing about our country, our laws, our rules? They speak different languages and are no longer able to learn English. A lot of them are minors who are not old enough to understand what it means to waive their Miranda Rights. Many of them grew up where soccer is their equivalent to American football. They live and breathe soccer. Many are fleeing gang violence and extreme poverty in Central America and thought coming here would give them a better future and chance at life. The services they receive at U.S. shelters were meant to help them in their recovery and to provide a distraction as they await placement.
A lot of them are minors
who are not old enough
to understand what it
means to waive their
It costs $775 dollars a day to keep a young person at Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children in Florida. It’s estimated that over $1.2 million a day is consumed. It is planned for Homestead to expand from 2,305 beds to 3,200 beds. This leaves me wondering how they can be at risk of running out of money for things like legal services. We should ask ourselves where the money is going for these modernday concentration camps at the expense of innocent children. The cash flow leads to prison contractors such as Core Civic, La Salle Corrections, Management and Training Corporation, CenturyLink, Microsoft, Western Union, and Motorola (according to In These Times). As these camps swell due to more and more lives being placed in them, so do the pockets of the contractors. What happened to the America that allowed those fleeing from violence and/or persecution to enter its borders and provide a new place in which to build a future safely and without the fear of being persecuted?
There are many ways in which people can aid in the shutting down of these concentration camps such as:
- Donate time and money to organizations that are already addressing the immigration problems; a local example is the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network.
- Organize or participate in a protest march, rally, etc.
- Contact your senator and state representatives
Remember to take care of yourself as you look into opportunities to help shut down these camps. Being an activist can be mentally and emotionally draining, especially when the road ahead is difficult and each day there are more lives lost, overcrowding in the camps increases, and we learn about corrupt guards and corporations. We each need our strength for this fight.