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Not-for-Profit, Award-Winning Community News and Views for Windham County, Vermont • Since 2006
Voices / Letters from readers

Shameful imprisonment of children must end

Beginning on June 9, which happens to be International Children’s Day, and culminating on June 16, Fathers Day, a Week of Action was held at the “emergency influx facility for migrant youth” in Homestead, Fla.

The administration’s inhumane treatment of asylum seekers coming across the southern border includes isolating children younger than 18 years old and placing them in “detention centers.”

The largest such center is a for-profit facility at the former Homestead Air Force Base. Since it is on federal land, there is no ability for Florida to investigate this facility, and the quality and conditions in this center are secretive, unregulated, and unknown.

This facility, built to house 1,000 children between the ages of 13 to 17, now houses approximately 3,000 youths. These children have traveled to the border under harsh conditions and arrive traumatized and often without family, only to be sent to what are essentially jails for children.

The cost to taxpayers is $775 or more per day per child!

Needless to say, some people are reaping huge profits from detaining these children, and the administration recently ordered the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to cease offering English classes and recreational soccer to the children in order to save money.

Many related articles about the Homestead facility are available on the web. A particularly informative one can be found at miaminewtimes.com/news/tornillo-activists-want-to-close-homestead-miami-child-migrant-camp-11079161.

If you are so moved, please lend your support by writing or calling your senators and U.S. representatives, going to such events and actions, or adding in whatever way you can to the pressure on the administration to close these facilities.

This shameful imprisonment of children must end.

Harriet and Burt Tepfer

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Originally published in The Commons issue #515 (Wednesday, June 19, 2019). This story appeared on page D3.

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