Editor’s Note: The following report was written by Charlotte County Democrat Judith Fincher, who joined in the Mother’s Day march at the Homestead Detention Facility for young immigrants in Homestead Florida. Photos are courtesy of Judith Fincher and Al Crespo.
The motto of the United States is e plu·ri·bus u·num, meaning “Out of Many, One.
This motto is not the operational norm of the current U.S. president. The ideal of the Founding Fathers was a rejection of polarizing religious and political beliefs. It was an affirmation that this new experiment would embody religious and political tolerance and acceptance of uprooted immigrants who were often indentured servants and persons of questionable financial and ethnic backgrounds, like Hamilton.
Those of us who marched on Mother’s Day, May 12, 2019, came from many different cultural, economic, religious and political backgrounds, including the Charlotte County Democratic Party Hispanic Caucus. We marched to advocate for freedom and justice for all members of society. As one placard read:
“Injustice anywhere is a Threat to Justice everywhere. “
We marched to hold these Latino children in the light. Little children and their families joined the march.
These incarcerated children were torn from their parents’ embrace at the Border and flown to the for-profit “juvenile detention center” at an abandoned army base in Homestead, Florida. The children ages 13-17 have not been charged with any crime. Their civil and human rights are being trampled on intentionally by the for-profit corporation.
This secret prison houses an unknown number of children in overcrowded unsafe conditions. Even though boys and girls are separated, the probability of rape and other types of abuse are very real, whether from other children or the prison guards. Marchers shared this concern.
Few Floridians know this secret prison exists. The local news media have provided scant coverage. A temporary solution to the trumped up “border crisis” has become a long-term profitable business venture worth $300 Million to its investors who include close associates of the President, like General James Matis and General John Kelly. PHOTO Since the for-profit prison derives its profits based on the number of incarcerated children, there is no incentive to (1) process the children, (2) free them. PHOTOS
Because the prison is on federal property it cannot be regulated or inspected by the State of Florida for health, safety, hygiene or educational compliance. Even members of Congress have been denied entry.
Shipments of new arrivals occur at night where it is impossible to ascertain what is going on behind the opaque tarps that hang on the fence surrounding the compound. No one knows exactly how many children are now incarcerated. There is no accountability as to their identification (names) or status apart from an occasional handwritten name on a dirty piece of paper placed in their pockets.
As far as we know, no charges have been filed against these 13 -to -17 year-old boys and girls. The corporation (or DHS?) is now conducting DNA tests in the “detention center” to determine if any of the children have criminal records__ in order to punish them, NOT to reconnect them with their parents.
All 17- year old’s are housed in a separate building from the younger children. When they turn 18, they are transferred to a Florida jail even though they have not been arraigned nor charged with any crimes. SHAME. SHAME.
There are at least two policies in play here that go against the grain of existing U.S. moral, cultural and political norms.
1 The presumption of innocence until proven guilty
2 Protection against false imprisonment, e.g., guaranteed by
A writ of habeas corpus that requires a person under arrest to be brought before a judge or into court, especially to secure the person’s release unless lawful grounds are shown for their detention.
Many protestors called for JUSTICE and advocated HUMAN RIGHTS for the children, and for the end to oppressive societal structures.