Letter: Locals to trek to Florida to protest conditions at detention center

  • In this May 6 file photo, migrant children walk outside the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children in Homestead, Fla. AP photo

Published: 6/6/2019 6:30:27 PM
Modified: 6/6/2019 6:30:17 PM

In mid-June, eight of us from the local Jewish community will be traveling to Homestead, Florida, to protest the horrific conditions at the migrant children’s detention center.

We will be joining with organizations from across the nation to rally on Father’s Day and demand the closing of this and all prisons for migrant children and youth. This for-profit facility, located on government property, is costing taxpayers $750 a day, compared to $250 a day it costs to detain individuals in government-run facilities, and there is no federal oversight.

Many of the 2,000 migrant children here were separated from relatives at the border. Children in Homestead are being incarcerated for an average of 58 days, in violation of federal law, which limits the time children can be detained to 20 days.

Part of the problem is that many of these children’s sponsors are also undocumented, and when they show up to claim the children, they risk being detained and deported.

People have maintained a consistent presence at the site, holding signs to tell the children, who are not allowed to hug anyone, even their own siblings, that they are not alone. However, we have heard that there are plans in place to raise the height of the fence to block the incarcerated children from seeing the signs.

The prison administration has also refused to deliver thousands of letters of support written from children across the country. People can help by asking our representatives to support (HR 1069/S 397), the Shut Down Child Prison Camps Act, and (S388), the Families Not Facilities Act.

These bills would assure that all facilities complied with the 20-day child detention limit and they would also bar sharing information with ICE that has led to the detention and deportation of sponsors in the community.

More information on the issue and action is available on the American Friends Service Committee website. We choose to act as Jews in the spirit of Tikkun Olam (healing the world) and hope that others will act in whatever way they can to help the children in Homestead.

D. Dina Friedman, Shel Horowitz,
Betty Lynne Wolfson,
Alice Levine, Joan Epstein,
David Nurenberg,
Joyce Duncan, Susie Zeiger




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