By Aaron Kesel
The Trump administration is holding 1,469 teen and pre-teen boys separated from their parents in captivity along the Mexican border at an old abandoned Walmart called Casa Padre, Salt Lake Tribune reported.
The old Walmart has now been renovated with classrooms, recreation centers, and medical examination rooms to hold the boys now under federal custody. The boys are allowed two hours outside each day, including one hour of physical exercise and one hour of free time in between long days of learning. There are two separate shifts of education due to the number of boys at the facility.
A total of 1,469 boys, ages 10 to 17, are housed inside the 250,000-square-foot former Walmart superstore. None of the 313 bedrooms have doors or ceilings, so children are forced to lie in their beds. At least the government is feeding them according to reports; an image shows a hundred children neatly lined up for their supper of barbecued chicken or sandwiches single file past murals of former presidents, including one of the current president with a quote in Spanish alongside the English version: “Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war.” It’s a quote that President Trump once tweeted in 2014, a line from his 1987 book The Art of the Deal, shortly before going on to win the U.S. election 2 years later.
Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war. Don't ever get down on yourself, just keep fighting – in the end, you WIN!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 23, 2014
While most of the boys are teenagers who entered the United States alone on their own, dozens of others — some even younger were forcibly separated from their parents at the border by a new Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy for immigration.
A Washington Post reporter recently interviewed a teenager who spent about three months in Casa Padre, from February until early May of this year.
Jairom, 17, had fled his abusive home in Honduras and traveled through Mexico for a month, mostly by train, before he was detained crossing into Rio Grande.
Casa Padre wasn’t perfect, Jairom told the Post. The two dirt soccer fields behind the big-box store weren’t enough space for all the boys who wanted to play. And he said the food was terrible.
“They gave us a bit of bread, a nasty egg and some beans and an apple and some milk,” he said, describing breakfast. “Everyone complained about the food.”
Perhaps one of the worst people to quote, but she has it right this one time, former First Lady Laura Bush compared the immigrant children’s camp to internment camps used in WW2.
“These images are eerily reminiscent of the Japanese American internment camps of World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history,” Laura Bush wrote in an Op-Ed for The Washington Post.
Laura Bush: “These images are eerily reminiscent of the Japanese American internment camps of World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history.” https://t.co/yc3SLxAbdy
— Ken Dilanian (@KenDilanianNBC) June 18, 2018
Only last month the Trump administration enacted a policy to refer every person caught crossing the border illegally for federal prosecution, a decision that has caused for the separation of children from their families.
“So, if you cross the border unlawfully, even a first offense, we’re going to prosecute you,” U.S. AG Jeff Sessions told a gathering of the Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies in May. “If you’re smuggling a child, we’re going to prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you, probably, as required by law. If you don’t want your child to be separated, then don’t bring them across the border illegally.”
However, the nonprofit’s chief executive, Juan Sanchez of the company holding the federal contract Texas-based Southwest Key insists they aren’t running a prison and their ultimate goal is to reunite these young kids with their families, many of whom are probably now locked up under Sessions’ new policies.
“We’re trying to do the best that we can taking care of these children. Our goal ultimately is to reunite kids with their families,” he said. “We’re not a detention center. … What we operate are shelters that take care of kids. It’s a big, big difference.”
In the two weeks after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the separation policy, on May 7, 638 adults were prosecuted, and they had been accompanied by 658 children, federal officials have said.
One has to wonder if the Trump administration is imprisoning these 1,469 children and if there are other centers like these being operated around the U.S. holding children in detention internment camps. AG Sessions has ordered federal prosecutors to pursue criminal charges against all referrals for illegally crossing the border.
The Trump administration has separated nearly 2,000 children from their families since it initiated its harsh new immigration policies according to the Associated Press which analyzed records from the Department of Homeland Security and found that 1,995 children were taken away between April 19th through May 31st of this year.
How many more of these cases exist where children are being snatched from their parents who illegally cross the border? Is this the new type of behavior Americans wants to condone, or just the establishment making us all look bad?
Top image credit: ZeroHedge