The Trump administration said facilities holding stolen migrant children are similar to 'summer camp,' ignoring numerous reports of abuse and neglect.
The Trump administration is now describing facilities where children are being kept after they were taken away from their families as "like a summer camp."
The tone-deaf terminology was used by ICE executive associate director Matt Albence during testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Asked about reports of harsh and inhospitable conditions at the detention centers where these children are being held, Albence said, "I think the best way to describe them is to be more like a summer camp."
He went on to say "these individuals" have "access to 24-7 food and water," and touted the existence of basketball courts and exercise classes on site, as well as medical and dental facilities.
He did not mention the lawsuits brought against the administration for exposing children to hunger, dehydration, sleeplessness and “routine” physical assault. And he did not mention the ICE contractor caught on video housing separated children in an empty, unlicensed building with no kitchen and few toilets.
Albence, of course, also failed to acknowledge the undeniable psychological and emotional distress experienced by children, sometimes of toddler age, being taken away from their parents.
The family separation came about thanks to Trump's unilateral decision to prosecute border crossers and automatically trigger guidelines that ripped families apart.
Trump called these families "animals" and reports about the inner workings of the facilities have revealed inhumane treatment.
Propublica recently examined the shelters and uncovered "hundreds of allegations of sexual offenses, fights and missing children" at the facilities where children are still being sent.
Lisa Fortuna, director of child and adolescent psychiatry at Boston Medical Center, told the outlet, " If you’re a predator, it’s a gold mine."
A judge just ruled that children have to be removed from one Texas facility because they had been given psychotropic drugs without parental consent. The lawsuit that prompted the ruling said the drugs were being used as a "chemical straight jacket" to pacify children.
No parent would send their children to a "summer camp" like that. The trauma of forced government separation of families on top of that twisted arrangement exposes the administration's spin as insensitive, callous, dismissal.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.