Trump’s war on immigrants
Nearly 15,000 children held in detention camps across the US
14 December 2018
Nearly 15,000 immigrant children are being held in a network of detention centers across the United States. Changes implemented by the Trump administration have filled the child jails to near capacity, and the government is considering adding more employees and more beds to make it possible to hold even more adolescents.
The Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the incarceration of immigrant children at more than 100 locations, reported Thursday that the system was 92 percent full. Among the most notorious detention centers is the tent camp on the US-Mexico border in Tornillo, Texas, where approximately 2,800 children are being held in the desert.
Children are being held at Tornillo for an average of 50 days before being released into the custody of sponsors, typically family members already living in the US who will take care of the minor until their status is determined by an immigration judge. New detainees are being brought into the camp faster than they are being released to sponsors.
Conditions that prevail in the detention centers can be traumatic, with reports by children of rapes, sexual abuse and assaults. A significant portion of those being detained are teenage boys from Central America who have crossed into the US without a parent, seeking asylum from poverty and gang violence in their home countries.
The population in the system began to swell after the Trump administration implemented a policy requiring anyone living with potential sponsors for a child to provide their fingerprints and go through a criminal background check.
This has raised fears among potential sponsors that they would be opening up other family…