Stunning images show where the US detains migrants crossing the southern border

Former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau appeared on Sunday to criticise the Trump administration’s new policy of prosecuting immigrants who cross the southern US border illegally – an action that would inevitably separate children from their families.

Favreau tweeted a picture of immigrant children being held in what looked like a cage at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in Arizona.

“This is happening right now, and the only debate that matters is how we force our government to get these kids back to their families as fast as humanly possible,” Favreau wrote in the tweet.

But he deleted the tweet after The Daily Caller found that the picture was from an story from 2014.

Favreau’s tweet came after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in early May that the US would refer “100 per cent of illegal Southwest Border crossings to the Department of Justice for prosecution,” adding “If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law.”

The issue gained new momentum in recent days when it was reported that the US Health and Human Services Administration lost track of nearly 1,500 migrant children who had been placed with American sponsors after they arrived in the US illegally.

While Favreau may have bungled the tweet, there have been widespread allegations of mistreatment and poor conditions at immigration detention centres across the US for years, which have sparked riots, hunger strikes and more.

Take a look inside:

The majority of the following photos were taken in May 2017 at the immigration center in the desert city of Adelanto, California, which is the largest immigration detention center in the state.

The detention center is about 85 miles away from Los Angeles, and can hold up to 1,940 people.

After getting arrested by Immigration Customs and Enforcement agents, people can languish in the Adelanto detention center, and other such centres around the US, for years as they await hearings.

The Adelanto facility was last inspected in 2016 by ICE’s ERO Custody Management Division, which found that the detention center met the “standard.”


Immigration Customs and Enforcement

But multiple detainees have gone on hunger strikes or attempted suicide over the conditions since at least March 2017.

Burgos Mejia, 28, who fled gang violence in Honduras, told the Los Angeles Times in August 2017 that suicide is “something that has crossed the mind of all of us who are locked up here.”


Los Angeles Times

In the summer of 2017, nine asylum seekers from El Salvador went on a hunger strike at the facility, demanding better food and clean water.


Los Angeles Times

They also asked for better clothing, specifically underwear.

In June 2017, the group was beaten and pepper-sprayed when they locked arms and tried to get a guard to hear their demands.


Los Angeles Times

The Adelanto immigration center is owned and operated by Geo Group, which is the second-largest private prison company in the US.

The GEO Group owns and operates 141 correctional, detention, and community reentry facilities around the country.

The GEO Group is also a major political donor, giving $US288,345 to federal candidates in the 2016 cycle (12% to Democrats, and 88% to Republicans), and $US121,000 to federal candidates already in the 2018 midterm cycle (28% to Democrats, and 72% to Republicans).

It also gave the Trump Victory PAC $US170,000 in 2016.

There have been multiple other incidents of riots, hunger strikes and more over conditions at other GEO Group immigrant detention centres around the US.

A lawsuit representing about 62,000 detainees at GEO Group’s detention center in Aurora, Colorado, was filed in 2014 over forced manual labour, and is in still in the courts.


The Denver Post

The state of Washington is also suing GEO Group over paying detainees less than the minimum wage at a center in Tacoma, Washington, where they have gone on multiple hunger strikes over low pay and poor food.


Tacoma Weekly

ICE pays the GEO Group up to about $US112 per day, per detainee at the Adelanto immigration detention center.


Los Angeles Times

Detainees at the Adelanto center are allowed to exercise.

And receive visitors.

But the Trump administration’s new policy of prosecuting immigrants who cross the border could split up families and overwhelm detention centres.

The Trump administration has argued that the policy is effective, but has used faulty statistics from El Paso, Texas, about a 64% decrease in border crossings, to back up its claim.



At the same time, Trump has blamed Democrats, for the policy of prosecuting people who cross the southern US border illegally and causing the children who arrive with them to be separated from their parents — even though it is his administration’s policy.


Associated Press

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