Children In Cages
by C.A. Matthews
A picture paints a thousand words, but what can a photographic image do? The pen is mightier than the sword, but is video of asylum-seekers being herded into fenced-in areas like so many heads of cattle into a feedlot powerful enough to detonate the entire world? Can the shocked anger Americans voice over this cruelty propel them into action?
Perhaps it can--until the next outrage comes along to distract us.
There's no need to repeat the horrors witnessed by a recent visit by politicians to one of these border concentration camps here. We've all heard and seen them online. At least some of us have. The mainstream media spinners have been working overtime to convince good-natured Fox News viewers that Latin American children are being treated to "X-box and teddy bears" upon their arrival at our southern border. And who cares about being separated from your family when you've got lots of fun video games and toys to occupy your time, right?
But still the image remains of children in cages and rumors of women sexually assaulted by Border Control agents and babies ripped from their parents' arms. Told to drink out of the toilet if they're thirsty, seldom fed, children never held when they're crying…the images grow into nightmares that follow us into the daylight and beyond.
Fleeing the violence of your homeland, searching for safety in the United States--it isn't exactly like going on a trip to Disneyworld, now is it?
Those who debate whether our border facilities qualify as concentration camps or not miss the point. While we argue whether a concentration camp must have an operational gas chamber and accompanying crematorium or not, children's lives are being forever scarred and damaged. It's not a time to argue semantics--it's a time for action. It's time to storm the Bastille of the Borderland and release the prisoners whose only crime is being born in the wrong place at the wrong time and placing their faith in the wrong people to take care of them.
I cry to think this is what we've become--the world our great-grandparents and grandparents fought so bravely against. We are not trustworthy. We have become the very thing so many millions died for, the fascist state of the 1930s and 40s. A world where locking children in cages is as every bit as natural as placing our cat or dog in a kennel when we go on an out-of-town trip, a world where locking up our morals and compassion is as simple as breathing.
Do the thoughts and images of how we treat our neighbors keep you awake at night? I'd like to think I'm not the only one who feels distressed, but I could be. Let me know if you're disturbed by this strange new world we live in as much as I am. Maybe together we can summon the courage to confront the corrupt, immoral system and set the captives free.
"Until we are all free, we are none of us free." --Emma Lazarus
How true a statement! We enslave ourselves when we deny our humanity and our capacity for suffering. We become robots, enslaved to the flesh and divorced from the divine truth that we are all brothers and sisters. We can't allow this to happen. We have to will ourselves to stare at the image of children in cages and children dying in the desert and become a part of their struggle--or else we will become a part of our own destruction.
Emma Lazarus knew what she was talking about when she also penned, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." It's on the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, standing at an entrance into America for many immigrants from Europe. And the ultimate irony is that the ancestors of these same European immigrants fleeing poverty, war and bloodshed one-hundred-plus years ago are among those who yell the loudest, "Fake news! Trump Camps don't exist!"
Until we are all free, we are none of us free… We must free those who cannot free themselves from their own bigotry by taking them on a trip inside the new Disneyworld springing up along our borders and in rural areas across the nation. It's an attraction that will hopefully wake up their senses and inspire them to take constructive action with us.
People are dying. There is no time to waste. Let's do it today.
The U.S. Migrant Crisis is a Test for Christians
The Border Patrol is the American SS
Border Agency Knew About Secret Facebook Group For Years
Second CBP-Linked Facebook Group Shows Derisive Images of Migrants
Another Asylum Seeker Dies in Border Patrol Custody
Preventable deaths are happening at immigration detention centers in the United States. This is a human rights abuse and must end now!
In the past three months alone, there have been three deaths at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facilities in the United States. In April, a 54-year-old from Mexico died after flu-like symptoms in a solitary cell. In May, a 21-year-old from India hanged himself in an Arizona jail. And just one month ago, a 25-year-old died in a Texas hospital after nearly six weeks in custody.
These deaths are not just flukes: they are symptoms of systematic mistreatment and even abuse. NBC News analysis of federal data revealed dismal conditions at ICE detention centers. In particular, accounts of poor sanitation and limited medical care in these immigration detention centers have surfaced recently.
Children's cells include open toilets in the middle of rooms, no hand soap, moldy showers, infrequent bathings, and lice infestations. In some cases, imprisoned individuals have no access to water, and are told to drink out of toilets. Many inmates are left without heating in near-freezing conditions and must endure bright lights being left on 24-hours of the day. Others have been outright denied medical care until it's too late.
Add your name to this petition to call on the incoming Acting-Director of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Kevin McAleenan, to take the necessary steps to fix this humanitarian crisis. He must audit immigration detention facilities over their hygiene practices and ensure all detainees have access to medical care!
Thank you for caring,
P.S. By signing this petition you are sending a strong message to Incoming DHS Acting-Director Kevin McAleenan that people deserve to be treated like human beings, and he must ensure that no more deaths occur at ICE detention centers
Imagine one-third of your neighbors disappearing overnight. That nightmare could be a reality for my community if the Trump Administration is allowed to move forward with their plan to evict all “mixed immigration status” families from HUD-subsidized housing. That’s why I need you to join me and over 10,000 other Americans in submitting a public comment opposing this policy before the comment period closes on July 9.
You can learn all about the proposed HUD “mixed-status” families rule and submit your public comment here.
On May 10, 2019, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) proposed a rule that would prohibit “mixed-status" families from living in public and other subsidized housing. (Mixed-status families are households that include both members who are eligible and ineligible for housing assistance based on their immigration status.) The proposed rule would have devastating impacts, putting over 100,000 people at immediate risk of homelessness and eviction, including 55,000 children. That’s why it’s so important that you add your voice by making a public comment right now!
I live in a public housing community in the heart of Pacoima, a diverse, working-class, immigrant community in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. San Fernando Gardens is home to 448 families, and over 130 of them could face eviction if HUD’s rule went into effect. I have worked with my neighbors for over 30 years to make our neighborhood better: getting a community center built, holding toy drives at the holidays, and improving our schools. So many of the people I’ve worked with over the years were from “mixed-status” families, and it has never mattered one bit to us.
You can read profiles of some of my neighbors who could be evicted by this rule here.
We work together, shop together, go to church together, raise our children together, volunteer at the schools together. We are a community, and we wouldn’t be the same if Trump’s racist, xenophobic policy was allowed to move forward. Please go to https://www.keep-families-
There’s some important things about this proposal to understand. First of all, it’s already the law (and has been for decades) that no ineligible person receives any rental assistance from HUD. That means mixed-status families actually pay more rent than their neighbors for the same public housing.
Secondly, this isn’t just an attack on immigrants, but on all low-income renters. This proposal would cost HUD an additional $227 million per year. That would mean that after evicting mixed-status families, HUD would have to cut Section 8 vouchers and reduce public housing maintenance. This proposal won’t help any low-income renters, no matter their immigration status.
HUD Secretary Ben Carson and Donald Trump want us to believe that this proposal is about helping U.S. citizens who are on housing waitlists, and that immigrants are taking away resources from “legitimate” citizens (Dr. Carson’s words). That’s simply not true. Mixed-status families help subsidize HUD housing for everyone by paying higher rents, and every family currently housed has at least one person who is eligible for HUD assistance and entitled under the law to rental assistance.
We know the solution to our housing crisis isn’t to blame immigrants. We need a #HomesGuarantee that dramatically expands truly affordable housing for everyone, including mixed-status families. That’s why I joined People’s Action – to fight for true progressive policies that make life better for all of us. This HUD policy is a step in the wrong direction, and that’s why I need you to join me and comment now opposing the rule!
This proposed rule is an attack on everything I’ve worked for in my life. My heart breaks when I think of 25,000 more families facing homelessness, especially the 55,000 children who would be evicted simply because of who their family members are. The ripple effects this would have on my state, my city, and my neighborhood are devastating. My state of California would be the hardest-hit in the nation, with over 9,000 families who could be made homeless because of this rule. Los Angeles saw a 16% increase in homelessness this year, and we don’t need another 11,000 people out on the streets. My neighborhood would be torn apart by this proposal. Please comment now!
People’s Action Member
Board Member, People Organized for Westside Renewal (POWER)
Member of People Organized for Westside Renewal (POWER) and Ground Game LA
***From Faithful America:
We've got good news and bad news.
The good news: Last month, after 18,000 Faithful America members signed a petition demanding charges be dropped, church volunteer Scott Warren's trial ended in a hung jury. His alleged crime? Helping immigrants near the U.S.-Mexico border.
The bad news: Federal prosecutors announced this week that they have decided to retry Scott on two out of three felony charges.
Sign the petition today: No second trial for Scott Warren -- drop all charges at once!
Scott volunteers with No More Deaths, a Unitarian Universalist ministry that offers water, food, blankets, and first aid along the border. His trial was a clear attempt by the Trump administration to crack down on immigrants -- and on all Americans who welcome the stranger and show love to our southern neighbors.
Eight out of 12 jurors said Scott was not guilty. Yet in a move cruel even for this administration, the Trump Justice Department is proceeding with another trial. Scott could face years in prison, just for giving shelter to those in need.
Let's show the Trump administration that these scare tactics won't work: Christians and other people of faith are still paying attention to this story, we are still committed to human rights for immigrants, and we will not stand for this crackdown on Good Samaritans!
Add your name now to tell federal prosecutors: Drop all charges against Scott Warren.
- Rev. Nathan and the Faithful America team
P.S. Faithful America depends on the support of members like you to continue mobilizing Christians to challenge the religious right and its dangerous alliance with Donald Trump. Can you chip in to support this urgent work today?