Obama's Controversial Policy of Immigrant Family Detention Could Expand Under Trump

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As immigrant rights protests erupted Saturday in 50 cities across the country, we look at one of the most controversial policies President Obama passes on to Donald Trump: family detention. Since 2014, thousands of Central American women and children seeking asylum have been held in private jails. Despite complaints of medical neglect and poor oversight, the Obama administration resisted calls to end the practice. Now, advocates worry Trump could expand it, with even less oversight. Democracy Now! correspondent Renée Feltz reports from the Texas-Mexico border.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: As immigration protests erupt in 50 cities across the country, we end today’s show looking at one of the most controversial policies President Obama passes on to Donald Trump: family detention. Since 2014, thousands of Central American women and children seeking asylum have been held in private jails.

AMY GOODMAN: Despite complaints of medical neglect and poor oversight, the Obama administration resisted calls to end the practice. Now advocates worry Trump could expand it with even less oversight. We turn now to Democracy Now! correspondent Renée Feltz with this report.

RENÉE FELTZ: The Obama administration says its policy of detaining Central American families seeking asylum is meant to deter others from following. But thousands of women and children continue to come. In Texas, agents have erected large tents to hold them, near El Paso, in a small town called Donna. I tried to film the tent in Donna, next to a busy border crossing. The security guard didn’t make it easy.

SECURITY GUARD: Hello.

RENÉE FELTZ: Yeah.

SECURITY GUARD: No, they don’t want nobody here. It has to be across the street

RENÉE FELTZ: Across the street?

The tent can hold a thousand people. It’s surrounded by a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire, and Border Patrol jeeps are parked outside. Immigration lawyer Carlos García took a tour in December.

CARLOS GARCÍA: Basically, you walk in, and it’s tents. It’s like a…

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  • qbert

    It is wrong to keep those families detained. Send them home immediately!