Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past month or so, you’re probably well aware that Donald Trump has been struggling to enact his so-called ban on immigrants from countries he believes terrorists are traveling to the United States from. It’s been a catastrophe to say the least and has been met with severe opposition from a majority of the U.S. population.
Whether you want to believe that the ban has had tremendous impact or not, immigration authorities have been quietly rounding up hundreds of undocumented citizens in at least six different states, and now we’re just starting to figure out where they’re ending up.
It turns out, they’re being held at detention centers ran by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). These two agencies serve under the Department of Homeland Security, yet are rarely ever held accountable for what some have called the most inhumane prison conditions in the United States.
They can do this because the people they put in the camps aren’t technically U.S. citizens, meaning they aren’t treated with the same basic rights that a documented citizen would have.
Much of what we know about these centers comes from a legal complaint lodged by the National Immigration Law Center (NILC). The complaint details how over 200,000 people have been sent to these camps in the past two years. And while Homeland Security maintains that people are never to be held for more than 12 hours, the NILC says that large numbers of immigrants have reportedly been crammed into cells meant for just a few people for up to 72 hours.
“You have agents that are wearing their boots, gear, and bulletproof vests and running around in the desert,” Jennifer Podkul of the Women’s Refugee Commission told Mother Jones. “A comfortable temperature for them is different for a person who’s been in the desert for several days, is wearing a tank top, and is very, very sweaty—and then sits there for two or three days.”
“I’ve talked to children who took the toilet paper they got and laid it on the floor and laid down on that, because it’s one barrier between them and the cement floor,” she continued.
And that’s just in the Sector of Tucson. In Pennsylvania, at the Berks County Residential Center (BCRC), NBC reported that at least 40 families are being held until they can appear in immigration court.
Conditions at this facility might even be worse, after NBC Philadelphia learned that a 40-year-old guard received just 23 months in prison for raping a 23-year-old Honduran immigrant, and the center deprives its detainees of sleep by requiring bed checks every 15 minutes.
Here are photographs detailing the harsh conditions immigrants are subjected to while they are held at these camps throughout the United States:
Immigrants waiting to be processed Photo: San Antonio Express News Sleeping mats and mylar blankets. Credit: Houston Chronicle A still from surveillance footage of a holding facility in Arizona The shirt of a child who was throwing up blood for four days before receiving medical attention A woman tending to her child in a holding cell filled with trash Surveillance footage from the Tuscon Sector holding facility This child at the South Texas Family Residential Center was forced to wear an ankle monitor
What do you think about these immigrant detention centers?
h/t US Uncut