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A Judge Just Ordered The Release Of Images From An Arizona Immigration Detention Center

Photos of Migrant Holding Cells ReleasedNewly released photos show the inhumane conditions at migrant holding cells on the U.S./Mexico border. http://nyti.ms/2bm4BsI

Posted by Video From The New York Times on Friday, August 19, 2016

Credit: The New York Times / Facebook

This video from the New York Times shows recently-released photos of an immigration detention center in Arizona. 

Last year, a group of more than 75 immigrants filed a class-action lawsuit against the Border Patrol, claiming they were subjected to inhumane treatment while they were held in short-term detention centers. The suit, which was filed by a coalition of civil right organizations, including the ACLU and National Immigration Law Center, claims detainees in Arizona and Texas were held in dirty cells with no beds and no showers. Detainees nicknamed the cells “hieleras” (iceboxes) because the cells were so cold. Border Patrol officials say the cells are usually between 68 to 80 degrees. The lawsuit also alleges that Border Patrol officials did not screen detainees for dangerous medical conditions and didn’t provide proper healthcare for those in need.

The detention centers in question are short-term shelters designed to hold people before they are processed, which means they are there for several hours before getting deported or being sent to a long-term detention center. According to a Border Patrol manual, the short-term detention centers are supposed to house migrants for less than 12 hours. The lawsuit alleges that more than 80 percent of those detained in Arizona (Tucson, Yuma) and Texas (Rio Grande Valley, Laredo) were held for *at least* 24 hours. Some detainees were held for more than 48 hours.

U.S. District Judge David C. Bury, who was presiding over the case, ruled that images taken from surveillance footage should be made public. Newly-released images from a Tucson detention center show detainees in cramped conditions. Their faces were blacked out to protect their identities.

One image shows 20 men stuffed in a cell sleeping under thermal blankets.

Credit: U.S. Border Patrol

Other images include a man drinking from a jug of water that was shared among several detainees for a five-day period.

Credit: Border Patrol

In a conference call with reporters, Nora Preciado of the National Immigration Law Center said: “These reports have largely been dismissed as anecdotal, since there was essentially no ability to talk to those held in hieleras and there was no evidence to show what it is really like inside. Now, the evidence released allows the public to see for themselves.”

The Border Patrol released a statement saying it is “committed to the safety, security and welfare of those in our custody, especially those who are most vulnerable.”

READ: This Interactive Map Shows That Immigration Is NOT Just A Latino Thing

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Biden Administration Says Number Of Kids In Border Custody Drops 84% Over Last Month

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Biden Administration Says Number Of Kids In Border Custody Drops 84% Over Last Month

As recently as last month more than 5,000 children languished in jail-like conditions inside U.S. Border Patrol facilities, often for longer than the 72-hour limit set by federal law. But, according to the Biden administration, that number has dropped by 84% as the agencies charged with migrant detention make significant progress.

Questions remain, however, about where these children are being sent to instead and why there remains a need for jail-like conditions in the first place.

The number of kids in jail-like Border Patrol facilities drops 84% compared to March.

The number of unaccompanied migrant children held in jail-like conditions by US Customs and Border Protection dropped nearly 84% in the span of a month, according to a White House official. As of last Wednesday, there were 954 children in CBP facilities, down from a peak of 5,767 on March 28, the official told CNN.

The average time that kids are in CBP custody is now 28 hours, compared to 133 hours on March 28, the official said, a nearly 80% reduction in time spent in Border Patrol detention.

In an interview with NBC News this week, Biden suggested that the situation with unaccompanied children is now under control, saying, “It’s way down now. We’ve now gotten control,” and touted “significant change in the circumstances for children to and at the border.”

In recent weeks, the Department of Health and Human Services, which is responsible for the care of migrant children, has opened up a string of temporary shelters to accommodate minors. That’s allowed for an increasing number of children being transferred out of border facilities to spaces equipped to care for them at a quicker pace.

The drop in children in custody is a welcome sign given the conditions they faced.

In some cases, children were alternating schedules to make space for one another in confined facilities and taking turns showering, often going days without one, while others hadn’t seen the sunlight in days.

While the administration works to address root causes of migration, it’s also had to contend with growing numbers of children in government custody. As of April 27, there were more than 22,276 children in HHS care, according to government data.

Biden on NBC again warned Central American parents against sending children to the US.”Do not send your kids, period. They’re most — they’re in jeopardy going– making that thousand-mile trek,” Biden said. “And so what we’re doing now is we’re going back to those countries in question where most of it’s coming from and saying, ‘Look, you can apply from your country. You don’t have to make this trek.”

The shift in strategy comes as a new poll shows Americans overwhelmingly support new immigration policy.

A vast majority of Americans approve of the idea of engaging countries abroad to address the causes of migration before it happens, according to a new nationwide poll released Thursday.

Pollster Civiqs found that 85 percent of survey respondents agreed that the United States needs to engage with other countries to address migration patterns.

On a partisan basis, 86 percent of Democrats and 87 percent of Republicans, as well as 81 percent of independents, agree with that approach, according to Civiqs, which conducted the poll for Immigration Hub, a progressive immigration advocacy group.

The poll found that 57 percent of Americans accept illegal immigration when the immigrants are fleeing violence in their home countries.

That support is lower for undocumented immigrants who come for other reasons; 46 percent agree with immigrants arriving illegally to escape poverty or hunger, while 36 percent do if the migrants are seeking to reunite with family members, and 31 percent do if the migrants are looking for jobs in the United States.

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A Group of Volunteer ‘Fairy Godmothers’ Threw a Lavish Quinceañera For This Homeless Teen Girl

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A Group of Volunteer ‘Fairy Godmothers’ Threw a Lavish Quinceañera For This Homeless Teen Girl

Photo via Getty Images

For most Latinas, having a quinceañera is a right-of-passage. Your quinceañera is the official milestone that proves you’re finally a woman. It’s a party that you look forward to your entire childhood. It’s that one time in your life that you, and only you, get to feel like a princess.

Unfortunately, not every girl has the luxury of having a quinceañera. Some girls’ families don’t have the finances to throw a huge party.

In Miami, a group of “fairy godmothers” organized a quinceañera for a homeless teen girl whose family recently emigrated from Mexico.

The girl, Adriana Palma, had moved with her family from Mexico to Miami in early 2020. But because of the pandemic, her father lost his job. Adriana, her parents, and her three younger brothers spent the next four months living in their SUV.

Relocating to another country is hard enough, but Adriana faced another challenge by being homeless, struggling to learn English, and chasing down random Wi-Fi signals in order to complete her homework assignments. It was a struggle, to say the least.

And to make matters worse, Adriana’s fifteenth birthday was coming up. Adrian’s parents told her that, since they were homeless, they wouldn’t be able to throw her a quinceañera. “We will be together as a family,” her mother, Itzel Palma, told her. “That will be my gift to you.”

Luckily, the Palma family had a group of guardian angels watching out for them. Being homeless wouldn’t prevent Adriana from having a quinceañera.

A charity called Miami Rescue Mission had already hooked up the Palmas with a small apartment for the family to get back on their feet. “Cover Girls”, a subgroup of the Miami Rescue Mission, dedicate their time to help women and children who are in tough circumstances.

When Lian Navarro, leader of the Cover Girls, found out about Adriana’s situation, she knew she had to help. Cuban-Amercian herself, Navarro knew how important quinceañeras are to young Latinas. She called up her group of volunteers and they got to work making Adriana’s dream come true.

The 60 “fairy godmothers” decided to throw Adriana the quinceañera of her dreams in a local Miami church. They settled on a theme: Paris.

The volunteers decorated the bare church in gold Eiffel towers, supplied pink macarons and French pastries, they topped off each table with a floral centerpiece. They gifted Adriana with every item on her wish list. Not to mention, Adriana was able to be dressed up in a frilly pink quinceañera dress. Her hair and makeup were professionally done. A professional photographer captured her special day.

“We want them to have these memories,” said Cover Girl volunteer, Tadia Silva, about children and teens who grow up homeless. “They have to believe they are worth all that because they are.”

After her beautiful quinceañera, Adriana appeared to know her true worth. At the end of the party, she gave her “fairy godmothers” personalized notes of thanks. “I felt like a princess,” she said.

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