Migrant Infants and Children Being Held in "Tender Age" Prisons, with Plans for Internment Camps

[Content Note: Nativism; child abuse.]

The Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy of forcibly separating children from their parents at the border has, entirely expectedly, resulted in the need to imprison thousands of children, including babies.

Last night, Garance Burke and Martha Mendoza at the AP reported that there are now at least three "tender age" prisons in South Texas. The AP uses "shelters" rather than prisons, but that is not an accurate description, as MSNBC's Jacob Soboroff described seeing "babies sitting by themselves in a cage with other babies." Shelter is a minimizing euphemism.
Lawyers and medical providers who have visited the Rio Grande Valley shelters described play rooms of crying preschool-age children in crisis. The government also plans to open a fourth shelter to house hundreds of young migrant children in Houston, where city leaders denounced the move Tuesday.

Since the White House announced its zero tolerance policy in early May, more than 2,300 children have been taken from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, resulting in a new influx of young children requiring government care. The government has faced withering critiques over images of some of the children in cages inside U.S. Border Patrol processing stations.

...The three centers — in Combes, Raymondville, and Brownsville — have been rapidly repurposed to serve needs of children including some under 5. A fourth, planned for Houston, would house up to 240 children in a warehouse previously used for people displaced by Hurricane Harvey, Mayor Sylvester Turner said.
The facility in Brownville, creepily named "Casa Presidente," houses infants and teenage girls — raising questions about whether the girls are being used to care for the babies. No one has been allowed into the shelter, ostensibly to protect the detained children's safety.

At the Texas Observer, Gus Bova reports that Texas officials have recently "granted permission to at least 15 immigrant youth shelters to cram in more kids than their child-care licenses allow, according to records obtained by the Observer. Two shelters have been approved to hold almost 50 percent more children."

And that is not even the worst of what the administration has planned for migrant children.

Again: Children are "more susceptible to heat illness than adults for many reasons, including a greater surface area to body mass ratio, lower rate of sweating, and slower rate of acclimatization. The prevention of heat illness is based on recognizing and modifying risk factors," like, presumably, not housing children in concentration camps in the Texas heat.

Children are also at increased risk because they often simply don't understand the signs of being dangerously overheated. They don't know to ask for help. The Trump administration could be condemning children to be slowly tortured to death in heat they can neither tolerate nor escape.

But cruelty is the objective. There is no law that requires this "zero tolerance" policy. There is no reason that a "zero tolerance" policy must require a separation of children from their parents. And there is no reason to detain children in concentration camps in the summer heat. Not even cost: It's actually more expensive to separate children from their parents and detain them in concentration camps.

This is well beyond petitioning the Trump administration for a change in policy. They have indicated, with painful clarity, where they intend to go with their agenda should they be allowed to retain control of the United States government. They must be removed.

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