LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Our government sanctions child abuse

CharlotteDems.com Editor’s Note: The following letter by Charlotte Democratic Party Vice-Chair Teresa Jenkins was published in the Sun on Monday, July 1st.


Editor: Jana Lipman’s article comparing the Obama and Trump administration’s detainment of migrant children inadequately addressed the parallels. Trump’s latest plan, to house undocumented children at a Japanese-American internment camp from World War II is a return to one of the nation’s great disgraces.

Detention of children during the Obama administration met child-care standards and licensing requirements. The current administration is imprisoning children and ignoring these standards.

This month, the Trump administration argued in federal court that soap, toothbrushes, towels and even sleep were “luxuries” that the government should not be required to provide migrant children. Instead of the presumption of innocence, today’s migrants face the assumption of inadmissibility — tasked with demonstrating that they face a certifiable risk to their lives. Instead of being released to family members or other sponsors in the community to await hearings on their cases, children spend weeks and months in inhumane detention.

Migrant children are being shut out from public view in hundreds of facilities, including in Homestead, that are largely unaccountable to the outside world. Many, including Homestead, are for-profit facilities, generating more than $4 billion in revenue.

At least six migrant children have died in immigration custody since September 2018. Traumatized, blameless children are being systematically brutalized by the American government and made to endure the precarity of our criminal justice system despite never having committed a crime. The human costs of this administration’s policies should alarm us all.

Teresa Jenkins

Punta Gorda