It has been one year and the horrors continue . It has been one year since we learned that this administration was separating children from their parents at the southern border. It was only through our public outcry and a court order that most these nearly 3,000 children were reunified with their parents
Yet we have since learned that thousands more children were separated from their parents during the year before the zero tolerance policy was announced, and no records were kept of their whereabouts. They still remain separated and may never be reunited .
This country continues to hold 13,000 children in detention facilities around the country. Many of these children suffer the emotional scars of physical and sexual abuse they endured in their home countries. Instead of being permitted to stay with relatives or sponsors in loving communities, they are held in detention facilities for months on end far exceeding the 20 day limit required by the Flores Agreement. Many of these facilities, like Homestead in Florida are for- profit facilities with no child welfare oversight. The administration recently ended English lessons and soccer for children in detention . Worse , they have limited access to legal aid for these children in total violation of their human rights guaranteed in the Flores Agreement.
Seven children have died while in detention since last year and the administration has refused offers of medical oversight and help from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Children are kept in the cold, overcrowded, poorly equipped processing centers or ‘ice boxes’ in cages when they first arrive, for much longer than the recommended 48hrs and in other cases we have seen them held in fenced in areas left to sleep on the dirt .
Prescription medicines for conditions such as Seizures and Diabetes are confiscated from migrants including children and not replaced .
We have read reports of pregnant women giving birth while in detention and having their babies taken from them. Transgender individuals and some with mental disabilities have been placed in solitary confinement for prolonged periods “for their own safety.”
These are all atrocities. These are all human rights violations that run antithetical to our American values and who we claim to be as a nation . Although it is easy to feel powerless against a government machine that seems to do whatever it wants , we must not remain silent . Future generations must know that we raised our voices in opposition to this administration’s cruel policies. We must continue to raise awareness and demand that immigrants seeking safety and asylum in our country be treated with dignity and compassion. Join us.
This Families Belong Together Rally is being co-hosted by Together We Will Long Island and Immigrant Justice Now Long Island and is being cosponsored by Suffolk Progressives , NY Chapter 2 American Academy of Pediatrics, Latinos Unidos de Long Island, Progressive Doctors , The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Huntington, Action Together Long Island , Show Up LI, Long Islanders for Gun Safety, Nassau County NOW, Long Island Inclusive Communities Against Hate, Raising Voices, Indivisible RVC, Long Island Network for Change, The Women’s Diversity Network, Social Workers for Social Justice, Liberally Long Island, Huntington Young Democrats, Dedicated to Democracy, NY02 Dems , Get2Work Long Island, Organize-Plan-Act and the Community Growth Center of Huntington