Migrant Child Detention Center Whistleblower Speaks Out Against Family Separations

A youth care worker who quit his job at a Tucson detention center for unaccompanied minors is speaking out about inadequate facilities, untrained staff and inhumane policies, after witnessing the devastation of family separations firsthand. Antar Davidson says he quit after he was forced to tell children who were separated from their mother not to hug one another. The facility is run by Southwest Key, a nonprofit that operates 27 facilities and has signed a lease to detain hundreds of separated children, including many who are a younger than 12 years old, in a “baby jail” in a former warehouse and homeless shelter in Houston. For more, we speak with Antar Davidson.

AMY GOODMAN: As outrage is mounting over the Trump administration’s practice of separating immigrant children from their parents at the US-Mexico border as part of the crackdown against immigrants and asylum seekers, the Associate Press reporting nearly 2,000 children have been separated from their parents since April 19th, The New York Times reporting some parents have been deported without their children and with no information about how the family will be reunited, we’re going to look now at Southwest Key, the nonprofit that operates 27 facilities in California, Arizona and Texas, including the Brownsville facility that holds 1,500 children, that Senator Merkley was previously denied entry to.

We’re going to Tucson, Arizona, to speak with a whistleblower, a youth care worker who quit the Tucson detention center for unaccompanied minors, run by the nonprofit Southwest Key Programs, which also runs the Brownsville facility and the proposed “baby jail” in Houston, 27 facilities in all. Antar Davidson quit after, he says, Southwest Key forced him to tell children who were separated from their mother and from their siblings not to hug.

Antar Davidson, welcome to Democracy Now! Can you talk about why you quit your job last week?

ANTAR DAVIDSON: Sure, definitely. Thank you, first and foremost,…

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