These Pictures

[Content Note: Criminalization of need; child endangerment; racism.]

On Friday, I mentioned that immigration activist groups have filed a federal complaint alleging child abuse at the US-Mexico border in Texas and Arizona, and that the Obama administration has designated three military facilities to house undocumented child immigrants.

CBS5 Arizona has published a slideshow of photos from inside one of those detention centers in Nogales, Arizona, where more than 800 children from Central America are being held.

We're assured in captions that the facility "is kept at a very comfortable temperature by evaporative coolers" and that the children "are given showers, clean clothes, and something to eat," after they're processed, given a number, and had their personal possessions bagged and tagged with that number. Just like grown-up prisoners.

"They also undergo a health screening and are given vaccinations," we're informed. And then: "The kids are assigned to living areas separated by tall chain-linked fences and segregrated by age and gender."

image of two small Latino children asleep in a tiny room behind a chain-link fence

This looks like an image taken in an animal shelter, not a facility in which children are living. Not all of the children sleep in these cages, apparently:

image of lots of children with blankets sleeping higgledy-piggledy on a cement floor

The above image is simply captioned: "It's crowded." And so it is: That image is followed by an image of children, wrapped in their matching blankets, sleeping on what appears to be the floor of a bathroom. There are children in a room labeled "holding cell." There are children everywhere.

I understand this is not an easy situation to fix. Believe me, I get that. But piling children into overcrowded prisons while they await reconnection with family members, sometimes indefinitely, is not any kind of solution.

We have all the money we ever need in this country to wage wars, and never enough to care for human beings in need.

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