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Separated Children Say Life In Detention Centers Included Cleaning Toilets, No Crying, And Daily Threats

A federal judge ordered families to be reunited after Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy illegally detained them at the border. The Trump administration has not fulfilled the legal order but those who have been reunited are speaking out about alleged abuse. Here are some of the first accounts of what they experienced inside those makeshift detention centers.

Several children — who have been released — have spoken out about what it was like inside detention centers.

While hundreds of kids have already been reunited with at least one parent, thousands more remain in detention centers. The Trump Administration was given a July 10 deadline to return children five and under, which it did not meet, and a July 26 deadline for all children 17 and under.

According to the a U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) official, there are still 2,551 separated minors, aged 5-17, currently in government custody, and the government alleges to have parental matches for 2,480 of them.

The kids faced strict rules while being detained including no crying, no touching, no misbehaving.

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Some of the kids said that if they broke any rules, authorities there would threaten to keep them in detention longer.

“They told me, ‘If you keep doing that, you’re going to have to stay here until you’re 18,'” a 9-year-old named Diogo De Olivera Filho, a Brazilan national, told The Washington Post about his habit of sleeping late.

Outrage over the situation has grown after children opened up about being forced to scrub the floor and clean toilets in order to get their breakfast.

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According to the New York Times, the children’s duties included mopping the bathroom, scrubbing the sinks and toilets. Then they were able to “form a line for the walk to breakfast.”

“You had to get in line for everything,” Leticia, a young girl from Guatemala told The New York Times.

Another child was reportedly injected with something because he was acting out.

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A boy said that his friend from Guatemala was injected because “he would destroy things,” the New York Times reports.

When he was given these injections, he just passed out and went to sleep.

No one has been charged or accused of abuse, but some of the kids are returning to their parents with apparent bruises.

About these allegations, Mark Weber, a spokesman for the HHS, told The Washington Post that their “focus is always on the safety and best interest of each child.”

“These are vulnerable children in difficult circumstances, and HHS treats its responsibility for each child with the utmost care,” Weber told the Post. “Any allegation of abuse is taken seriously” and, “after being investigated by the department’s Office of Refugee Resettlement, ‘appropriate action is taken.'”

Political officials and immigration advocates are speaking out about the alleged abuse.

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Lawyer and president of the Covenant House, an organization that houses homeless kids, Kevin Ryan tweeted that if American kids were treated this way inside shelters they would immediately get shut down.

Cynthia Nixon, a gubernatorial candidate in New York tweeted her disdain of the treatment of these kids.

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These are among the first accounts from the children who lived these experiences. As more are reunited, more stories will be told. Mitú will publish updated stories as this accounts come to light.


READ: Here’s Why Advocates Are Concerned About The US Using DNA To Reunite Families Separated At The Border

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Alejandro Mayorkas Is The First Latino And Immigrant To Be Named Secretary Of The Department Of Homeland Security

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Alejandro Mayorkas Is The First Latino And Immigrant To Be Named Secretary Of The Department Of Homeland Security

Alejandro Mayorkas is the first Latino and the first immigrant to lead the Department of Homeland Security. Mayorkas is Cuban-born and was one of the original architects of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Alejandro Mayorkas is the first Latino and immigrant to be confirmed as the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Secretary Mayorkas is inheriting a Trump-era DHS and is immediately getting to work to rectify issues that the Biden administration has highlighted. Two of the most pressing issues are heading up a task force to reunite migrant families who were separated by the previous administration and reviewing the “Remain in Mexico” policy.

“Remain in Mexico” is a policy that the Trump administration created and enforced that sent migrants to Mexico to await their asylum cases. The policy has been criticized both by U.S. and international politicians as a humanitarian issue.

It isn’t Mayorkas’ first time working for DHS.

Sec. Mayorkas was the deputy secretary of DHS from December 2013 – October 2016 under President Barack Obama. During that time, Mayorkas was crucial in responding to the 2013 – 14 Ebola virus epidemic and 2015 – 16 Zika virus epidemic. Mayorkas is ready to come back to the department and to bring back what he sees are the department’s mission.

“DHS bears an extraordinary weight on behalf of the American people, the weight of grave challenges seen and unseen,” Sec. Mayorkas said in a statement. “It is the greatest privilege of my life to return to the Department to lead the men and women who dedicate their talent and energy to the safety and security of our nation. I will work every day to ensure that they have the tools they need to execute their missions with honor and integrity. The mission of the Department of Homeland Security is to safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values. The United States is a welcoming and empathetic nation, one that finds strength in its diversity. I pledge to defend and secure our country without sacrificing these American values.”

Mayorkas is no stranger to working on America’s immigration system.

Mayorkas is one of the original architects of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which is at stake because of the previous administration. The Biden administration has made a promise to preserve DACA and to create a pathway to citizenship to the 11 million undocumented people living in the U.S.

President Biden has introduced legislation to reform the current immigration system. The legislation has a timeframe for all undocumented people in the U.S. to become citizens if they follow certains steps and meet certain criteria.

While Mayorkas got bipartisan support in the Senate confirmation, some Republicans did not like his work in immigration. Sen. Marco Rubio, a fellow Cuban, voted to opposed Mayorkas.

“Not only has Mayorkas pledged to undo the sensible protections put in place by the Trump Administration that ended the dangerous policy of catch and release, but his nomination is further evidence that the Biden Administration intends to pursue a radical immigration agenda,” Sen. Rubio said in a statement.

READ: President Biden Introduces Legislation To Create Pathway To Citizenship For 11 Million Undocumented People

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President Biden Introduces Legislation To Create Pathway To Citizenship For 11 Million Undocumented People

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President Biden Introduces Legislation To Create Pathway To Citizenship For 11 Million Undocumented People

President Joe Biden promised that he would introduce legislation to create a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented people. The president has followed through with the promise and all eyes are on the government as millions wait to see what happens next.

President Joe Biden has been busy the first couple of weeks of his presidency.

President Biden is proposing a pathway to citizenship that millions of people in the U.S. have been asking for. There are around 11 million people who are undocumented in the U.S. The pathway to citizenship will take time, according to the legislation, but some people will have time shaved off of their pathway, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, and farm workers who have worked throughout the pandemic.

The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 is designed to change the immigration system that has created a backlog of immigration cases. There are multiple steps in the proposed legislation starting with creating a pathway to citizenship. Those who would benefit from the bill are people who are physically in the U.S. by January 2, 2021.

First, the bill allows for people to apply for temporary legal status. After five years, and if the person passes a criminal and national security background check, they can apply for a green card. Three years after that, people who pass further background checks and demonstrate a knowledge of English and civics can apply for citizenship.

A line in the bill aims to help people deported during the previous administration.

“The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may waive the presence requirement for those deported on or after January 20, 2017, who were physically present for at least three years prior to removal for family unity and other humanitarian purposes,” reads the proposed legislation.

The bill also wants to change the word “alien” to “noncitizen” in immigration laws to embrace the country’s stance as a country of immigrants.

The legislation has been introduced and now immigration activists are waiting to see it happen.

The legislation tackles several issues that have plagued the immigration system in the U.S. The bill proposes increasing visa limits for certain countries, keeping families together, removing discrimination against LGBTQ+ families, and so many other initiatives to start reforming the immigration system.

President Biden has been offering executive orders that are in the same vein as the bill. Many have aimed as fixing issues that were created by the previous administration and the president is not hiding from it.

“There’s a lot of talk, with good reason, about the number of executive orders I’ve signed. I’m not making new law. I’m eliminating bad policy,” Biden told reporters in the Oval Office while signing executive orders. “What I’m doing is taking on the issues that, 99 percent of them, that the last president of the United States issued executive orders I thought were counterproductive to our national security, counterproductive to who we are as a country. Particularly in the area of immigration.”

The undocumented population peaked in 2007 at 12.2 million and has declined since then. There are at least 4.4 million people in the U.S. with at least one undocumented parent, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

READ: President Joe Biden Signs Executive Order To Preserve DACA

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