Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Better Life For Children In Detention Center For Illegal Immigrants

When I first created this blog, one of the first topics I wrote about was the T. Don Hutto Detention Center... a prison that houses parents and children who are illegal immigrants. Children at the detention center were living in deplorable conditions. Children over five years old were seperated from their parents after "ligths out", and parents were prevented, by steel doors, from taking care of their children at night. Inmates told of one mother who could hear her young son getting violently sick in the next room, but could not go to comfort him or make sure he was okay. Children were also disciplined by guards, who told them if they were not good, they would not be able to see their parents at all any more. Children were often cold and hungry, were not given adequate food or medical care (guards admitted that they sometimes served rotten food, and a few people even found maggots in their food) and had to wear prison uniforms. The children rarely, if ever, got to set foot outside, even in a fenced-in area. They were not allowed to have toys, either!
The American Civil Liberties sued on behalf of some of the children living in the center. The ACLU was hoping that the entire place would be shut down, and the children and their families would be released to better settings. Now, the federal government has come up with an agreement to at least make living conditions better for the kids there! The government promised that the children will get five hours of education time a day, instead of the one hour they were receiving before. They will get more recreation time, including time outdoors, and chances to go on field trips. Nutrition will be improved, and a full-time pediatrician will be hired to attend to the children's health needs. The children will no longer be required to wear uniforms. Guards will not be allowed to threaten them with taking them away from their parents. Also, privacy curtains will be installed around toilets, so children and parents can go to the bathroom in private.
While these changes are great, many advocates for children argue that the best thing would still be for the center to be shut down completely.
I agree... or it should at least be completely renovated, making it more like a family shelter instead of a prison!
Many people will probably point out, "These people are illegan immigrants. Why do they deserve any better treatment than they're getting?" In fact, I have seen that statement made on blogs and forums regarding Hutto.
My answer is this.
First of all, they are children. They did nothing wrong. They did not choose to come here illegally. They do not understand what happened, or why they are prison. They only understand that they are sad, and lonely, and they can't even be with their parents when they want to be!
Second of all... these are mainly families who have escaped war-torn or dangerous countries.
Imagine, if you will, that terrorists manage to take over the USA. You walk outside your house, and see people... even little children... being gunned down in the street. Random people have been arrested, jailed and tortured. Your children are starving. And then, you hear that you may have a chance to take your family and sneak off to somewhere else, somewhere safe... maybe England, or Spain.
Will you do it? Will you break the law, take your kids and run for it, and hope for the best? Or will you stay in the USA, because this is where you belong?
Think about that.
And then tell me again what these little immigrant children in Hutto "deserve."

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