Updates On The Humanitarian Crisis At The Border
Recently, the detention centers at our southern border were in the news again after Congresswoman AOC called them concentration camps. This was a comment that sparked both serious backlash and support over social media; however, since then, the detention centers have not reared their ugly head quite as often in the news cycle. Instead, the camps have been silently keeping on their inhumane practices while everyone makes their attempts to forget they exist. In fact, ICE just released three new camps, which has not gained that much attraction in the news at all.
Back in February, Congress members made a bi-partisan deal to open up the government again (speaking of which, doesn’t that seem like a long time ago now?). A part of this deal was to direct ICE to stop detaining so many people at the border. However, this did not go over too well with ICE; despite the directions, ICE ended up detaining a record level of people – 54,000 all within a few camps. This means that they were detaining on average 34,000 more people than in 2016. ICE even had the nerve to ask for more money to fund its detention centers despite instructions from Congress to not detain so many people (the nerve?). When Congress didn’t give them the money, they started having to spend money they didn’t have – all to fund these dumb detention centers.
But how did ICE fund these three new concentration camps? Well – believe it or not – ICE started using profiting private companies to get enough money to detain people, meaning some individuals are actually profiting off concentration camps.
Most recently, Congress actually voted to provide ICE with 4.6 million dollars to help the humanitarian crisis at the border, which was a hugely positive step in the right direction that was definitely due to concerned citizens raising their voices. Of course, this deal rightly ignored ICE’s request for more concentration camp money – but if Congress doesn’t pay for it, sick private companies will. The best solution most definitely is to work on fixing the humanitarian crisis and make the process of going through the border much smoother and properly regulated so that immigrants don’t have to stay in these horrific camps, though when you have such divided perspectives on immigration control, it’s easier said than done.
What’s worse is that some detainees aren’t even able to be helped or represented by attorneys because of the fact that ICE is not listing them on their detainee tracker tool. “People just disappear from the system. It makes it extraordinarily hard to represent them,” comments Laura Rivera, attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center. How can a detainee get any help if they cannot be located in the first place? This whole situation is wild beyond belief and definitely a testament to Trump’s whitehouse.
Politicians have tried to show the American public how invested they are in the initiative to remove the detention centers; in fact, a couple of democratic presidential candidates have visited the centers and reported on their inhumane conditions. Beto O’Rouke alsolive streamed a rally against these detention centers a few weeks ago shortly after AOC had called them concentration camps. Most recently, AOC emotionally spoke in Congress in detail about the conditions of the concentration camps, and a United Nations human rights chief was apparently “appalled” by the conditions. At this point, it’s truly insane to justify this in anyway, and it saddens me that this is tens and tens of thousands of immigrants’ first taste of America.
What Can You Do?
So what can you do to help stop the horrific conditions of migrants at the southern border? First: talk to your elected officials by finding their number online and calling and/or texting them about how you feel. Your elected official is there to represent you, so in theory, this should have a direct effect. If you’re unsure about how to contact your elected officials, there are so many helpful guides online that makes this course of action quicker and easier than you would think.
The other most important things you can do are attend protests and rallies such as the nation-wide #CloseTheCamps rallies, share information on the topic of migrants, and support organizations that are helping to close the camps and educate people on this topic. For example, KIND (Kids In Need of Defense), Border Angels, Al Otro Lado, Justice in Motion, Texas Civil Rights Project, Pueblo Sin Fronteras, Neta, and many more are a few very important organizations that each have a specific purpose. Read up on each one, pick a couple to donate to, or set a monthly donation goal for yourself.