Children in immigration detention

As a teacher of young children, I feel especially enraged by violence against children. That’s why when Hillary Clinton said she would send all “illegal” immigrant children back to their home counties I was outraged.

She started by saying, “Just because your child gets across the border, that doesn’t mean the child gets to stay.” She tried to cushion her hate speech by saying “But first of all we have to provide the best emergency care we can provide. We have children 5 and 6 years old who have come up from Central America.”

Let me start this off by very clearly saying: Hillary Clinton does not care about the children she wishes to deport.

The Clintons have one child. After Bill Clinton became president, Chelsea Clinton went to the best private schools followed by Stanford, Oxford, and Columbia where she received degrees at each. Hillary Clinton has tried to pass off her family as “dead broke” after the presidency but Hillary doesn’t know what broke is. While the rest of us are forced to constantly think about bills, paychecks and money, Chelsea Clinton said she took a job with a bank to try to find value in money. For her, it just isn’t important. This is what its like to be Hillary’s child.

Within the last year the amount of children crossing the border has risen. In May alone, more than 9,000 children without their parents have been caught crossing the southwest border near the Rio Grande. Since October, more than 52,000 unaccompanied children have been caught at the same border. Although they come for many reasons, the vast majority of these children are leaving the only home they’ve known to reunite with the families that came before them set up a home here, or are escaping violence in their home country.

Clinton says she understands why so many families leave their homes. “It may be safer” for children to be in the United States “but that’s not the answer.” Clinton went on to say that the U.S. should help Mexico secure its southern border as a way of keeping unaccompanied children from migrating through Belize or Guatemala. But what Clinton won’t say is what’s the real problem: the criminal acts of the U.S. government’s economic and military policies driving migration. Through the North American Free Trade Agreement and unstable conditions in their home countries such as civil war, the U.S. government and corporations have devastated the economies of many Central and South American counties and made life unbearable for poor and working people.

So rather than addressing the real problem, the devastating effects of capitalism, Clinton just wants to deport all of these children as soon as a family member can be located. Essentially, after a grueling journey, Clinton wants to re-victimize these children. Let’s get a glimpse into what it looks like to be in custody of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

The ACLU Border Litigation Project recently filed a complaint on behalf of more than 100 unaccompanied children who were abused while in custody of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. Their complaint details abuses that effect children ranging from infants as young as 5 months to 17 years old. These children reported sleeping on the floors of unsanitary, overcrowded, freezing cells without blankets with the lights on.

The complaint goes on to say “More than 80 percent [of children] described denial of adequate food and water in CBP custody, including a child whose only available drinking water came from a toilet tank and others who received only frozen or spoiled food and subsequently became ill.” The complaint details hundreds of cases with similar stories or worse. Many children were left without adequate care for illness and chronic conditions and others were sexually assaulted.

These are the conditions Hillary Clinton wants to put children into. She had nothing to say about the deplorable conditions that these children are forced to endure. And we are talking about children here. Study after study, research shows how a lack of adequate nutrition, housing, and healthcare can have lasting effects on brain development. The abuse of these children will affect their physical, intellectual, emotional, behavioral, and psychological development. If this were any other country we would see demands for UN intervention and #SaveTheKids from Internet activists. If this were happening elsewhere the United States would probably threaten us with military intervention. But it’s here in the United States and these children are criminals and this is how the U.S. treats criminals.

We are not just talking about how to remedy the problem of immigrant children without their parents. We are talking about how children have been forced to suffer and suffer again at the hands of capitalism and U.S. imperialism. End the abuse of immigrant children. End the reign of politicians like Clinton. End capitalism!