Family Detention for Central American Refugees Is InhumaneChildren of Immigrants
By Wendy Cervantes and Madhuri Grewal
“Ayuda! (“Help!”) This was the last word we heard a young boy shout as we left the Artesia Family Detention Facility in New Mexico.
Artesia is the first facility created as a part of the Obama administration’s swift, large-scale expansion of family detention facilities, used to hold women and young children arriving at the border. We toured Artesia this summer with a group of nongovernmental organizations and human-rights advocates. Instead of refugee assistance, we saw toddlers fenced inside a hot facility in the middle of a desert, mothers without knowledge of their basic legal rights, and children rapidly losing weight due to malnutrition, anxiety, and depression. As advocates for children and immigrants, we left the tour convinced that our government’s blind eye to the mass detention of migrant families will become a dark period in our history books…