Things That Matter

These Migrant Kids Are Being Held In A Prison While Former Members Of The Trump Administration Are Making Money Off Their Imprisonment

ewarren / Twitter

One of the most shocking parts of the American justice system is our reliance on for-profit prisons. Companies that own private prisons make money off the number of people they house, so they push for more people to be incarcerated.

This encourages the prison industry to give money to politicians who claim to be tough on crime or anti-immigration. So, essentially, what we consider to be a crime is now often influenced by the prisons and jails who stand to profit.

Along the way, the prison industrial complex ruins lives and takes away people’s basic freedoms, all to make a dollar. 

For example, one US company is making $750 each day for every kid it has imprisoned in its detention center.

Credit: @dee4peace / Twitter

One company that appears to be making a killing off of the Trump Administration’s inhumane immigration policies is Caliburn International Corp. Caliburn charges $750 per child, per day to house immigrant children at a temporary shelter in Homestead, Florida.

At $750 per day, the children could literally be staying at the Four Seasons hotel in Miami.

The children who find their way to this facility are unaccompanied minors who arrived at the U.S. border seeking asylum. Most of them are Central American. 

Unfortunately, the shocking levels of connection between the government and for-profit prisons aren’t really shocking anyone.

Credit: @CREWcrew / Twitter

Former Trump chief of staff John Kelly recently joined its board of directors. He previously had been on the board of an investment firm that now owns the company.

This same company owns the now infamous Homestead facility which many people described as being like an actual prison than a detention center for child migrants.

Credit: @ewarren / Twitter

The Homestead facility caught the public’s attention for its prison-like conditions in which children are not allowed to touch one another and walk single-file to 15-minute meals. They may not use the restroom without permission and are only allowed two ten-minute phone calls with a family member per week.

“These children are battling a sense of deep helplessness and sheer frustration and confusion on why they don’t know anything or on why they are still detained,” attorney Neha Desai told the Miami Herald. “It’s profoundly distressing for them and something needs to be done.”

The facility sits on federal property, and unlike established children’s shelters, such as smaller group or foster homes that hold migrant children across the country, is not governed by state child welfare regulations designed to protect kids from harm.

Over 2,300 children are currently at the facility and some stay for months, even those who have family members waiting to pick them up.

Many weren’t surprised by the news and pointed out that we probably don’t even know the half of it.

Credit: @CREWcrew / Twitter

In the two and half years of the Trump administration, story after story of government corruption has been uncovered.

Sneaking In Sugar Packets Is Just One Reason That Can Land Migrants In Solitary Confinement

Things That Matter

Sneaking In Sugar Packets Is Just One Reason That Can Land Migrants In Solitary Confinement

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It is quite evident that undocumented immigrants are experiencing torture at unimaginable levels. Some risk never seeing their family again; others are getting sick; some are drinking out of the toilet; young girls aren’t given the proper feminine products; some are being sexually abused; others are experiencing physical and emotional abuse; some are sent to Mexico, a country they do not know; and, if they’re lucky they are given asylum only to endure a lifetime of uncertainty in a country that is led by a person who clearly doesn’t want them here. Shall we go on? Okay, let’s continue. 

An investigation led by several news outlets and immigration advocacy groups shows that “one of every 200 detainees has spent at least two weeks in isolation.”

Credit: Unsplash

The investigation includes years of documents that date back not just to the Trump Administration by the Obama Administration as well. The report found that while both administrations placed undocumented people in solitary confinement, under the Trump Administration immigration officials were citing suicide watch and “protective custody for LGBT people” as a reasoning for keeping isolated. To further illustrate just how much of this population was placed in these harsh conditions, the report shows that between “2016 to early 2018, about 40 percent of undocumented immigrants were in solitary confinement.” 

One of those people in solidarity confinement was a 36-years-old trans-Latina from Central America. She was only allowed one hour a day to walk outside.  

“You never know what day it is, what time it is,” Dulce Rivera said in an interview with NBC News. “Sometimes you never see the sun.” 

The reason she was put in solitary confinement because immigration officials reportedly got wind that Rivera had kissed and touched another person in detention. According to NBC News, those reports were later to be unfounded. Rivera said that because of her solitary confinement she became more and more depressed and attempted suicide. She attempted to hang herself in her cell with a noose made from her blanket. Thankfully a guard saw her, cut her down, and saved her life. Now Rivera faced another problem. Instead of immigration officials giving her the mental health help that she needed, because of her suicide attempt, they put her in solitary confinement yet again. 

The investigation shows that detention officials have several reasons for putting undocumented immigrants in solitary confinement. Some of those reasons include sneaking in sugar packets, menstrual blood stains on a uniform, being gay, among other things. 

In response to this investigation Bryan Cox, a spokesman for ICE, told the Atlantic they are using the proper protocol to decide when a detainee should be placed in solitary confinement. He added, “any suggestion that the use of segregation in ICE custody is above the norm for detained populations would be a false claim.”

The Atlantic also reported that under the Obama Administration, ICE officials would resort to solitary confinement for unjust reasons. For example, they list that one detainee got “14 days disciplinary segregation for failure to follow the meal procedure,” another got “14 days for asking to pay an officer to buy him cigarettes,” and another “30 days for making perceived threats because he asked an officer for his address.” 

So how long were these detainees held in solitary confinement? The investigation shows that some of them were in there for hundreds of days and one man was in isolation for 780 days. 

2014 story by PBS discussed the dangers of solitary confinement and what that does to a person’s mental health. Not only does it make a person more dangerous but the majority of them want to kill themselves just to escape the feeling loneliness. Others who are allowed to return and engage with other detainees/prisoners face another kind of dilemma. They’ve forgotten how to interact with others around them. 

“I’ve had prisoners tell me that the first time they’ve been given an opportunity to interact with other people, they can’t do it,” Craig Haney, a professor at the University of California at Santa Cruz, told PBS. “They don’t come out of their cell … And obviously this social atrophy, the anxiety which surrounds social interaction can be extremely disabling and problematic for people who are released from solitary confinement, either released back into the larger prison community or even more poignantly, released from solitary confinement into the larger society.”

Ellen Gallagher, a policy advisor at the Department of Homeland Security, exposed this horrific treatment of undocumented immigrants in solitary confinement. 

“We have created and continue to support a system that involves widespread abuse of human beings,” Gallagher told NBC News. “People were being brutalized.” 

READ: The Mother Of A Child Who Died In Immigration Custody Is Suing The Private Prison Company

Bricks Of Cocaine Have Been Washing Up On Florida Beaches And Some Are Valued At More Than $25,000

Things That Matter

Bricks Of Cocaine Have Been Washing Up On Florida Beaches And Some Are Valued At More Than $25,000

Melbourne Police Department / Facebook

Florida is gonna Florida. Florida, as usual, is doing the most. Hurricane Dorian has unearthed more than a dozen bricks of cocaine by causing them to wash up on beaches. Hurricane Dorian isn’t a joke nor should it be trivialized. It’s the cause of damage and displacement for thousands of people. 

Beginning as a Category 5 hurricane and eventually downgrading to a Category 2, Dorian has wreaked havoc in the Bahamas, Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida as it continues its move northeast. At least 20 have been killed in the Bahamas, which has been hit particularly hard. The prime minister, Hubert Minnis said Dorian “has left generational devastation across Abaco and Grand Bahama” after it destroyed harbors, shops, offices, hospitals, and airport landing strips. 

So let’s be clear, we’re not undermining the very real disaster whose devastation won’t even be quantifiable for years to come — we’re making fun of Florida. Florida, a state whose crimes are so bizarre and confusing it has a dedicated Twitter account. A state whose men are so bizarre and confusing there is a dedicated “Florida Man” meme. There is a Bored Panda listicle entitled “60 Times Florida Man Did Something So Crazy We Had To Read The Headings Twice.” 

Florida isn’t a regular place, you see, it is a place where the oceans are filled with cocaine. 

15 bricks of cocaine washed ashore. 

A duffel bag containing 15 bricks of cocaine weighing a kilo each turned up on the shore of Cocoa Beach in Florida.

Just 20 miles south, another brick of cocaine was discovered at Paradise Beach and Park in Melbourne, Florida. 

“It happened before the storm, it was on Friday, Aug. 30, it was just a beachgoer that saw a red travel duffel bag that looked suspicious,” Sergeant Manny Hernandez of Cocoa Beach Police Department told Fox Business. 

“So they contacted the Cocoa Beach Police Department and when officers responded, they took the bag and brought it back to station. We then contacted the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).”

This particular brick also weighed a kilo and had the letters “D-I-A-M-A-N-T” written on the package. The NY Post estimatesthe 15 bricks to be worth at least $300,000. However Fox Business reports that the two seizures may total around $810,000 and estimate that each brick is between $20,000 and $30,000.

This happens in Florida all the time, of course.

Bricks of cocaine and marijuana, known as square groupers, have been known to surface in Florida waters. Brevard’s coast has had unintended spills from cargo ships and vessels where coffee cans and other items have been dumped into the ocean. According to Florida Today, it is the rough surf and proximity of the Gulf Stream that causes either “trash or treasure” to wash up frequently. 

“There is a possibility that more will come onshore,” Hernandez said. “Especially now with these conditions. It could be coming from anywhere. We’re telling people to be cautious and not to grab or handle it because if there is an opening, it can go into your pores and you can overdose.”

Why is there so much cocaine in Florida, though?

In 2017,the Sun-Sentinel reported cocaine is making a “roaring” comeback in Florida.  Reportedly, Colombian cocaine production hit a record high with traffickers proliferating the drug in South Florida. Around 90% of the cocaine in the United States can be traced back to Colombia, which has tripled its production in recent years. 

Florida’s Customs and Borders confiscated 4,200 pounds of cocaine in 2016, compared to 1,730 pounds in 2015. Because there is a lag between drug production and distribuion it can take years to see the effects. Flash forward to 2019 where bricks of cocaine are free-flowing on the shores of Cocoa Beach. 

“We’ve never seen cocaine production at these numbers, which tells you there is more cocaine being produced now than at the height of the Medellin and Cali cartels,” Justin Miller, intelligence chief for the DEA’s Miami field division, told the Sun-Sentinel. “That’s significant.”

The increase in production is largely due to the Colombian government ceasing to aerial spray herbicides over coca fields used to make cocaine. The previous method was effective in thwarting cocaine production, but it harmed legitimate crops. Thus, the program ended. 

Don’t do cocaine, kids.

Don’t do cocaine, kids. That’s fairly good advice, I think! It’s nice to know that in the most trying times, Florida will always be Florida. Much like the spinning top was Leonardo Dicaprio’s constant in Inception. Florida is mine because I know it will never change.