Unit 2 op-ed

Improving and Expanding Immigrant Processing Centers

Across different political standpoints, many issues divide people in the U.S. into two camps; Democrats and Republicans, or in other terms, liberalism and conservatism. Regardless which camp you lean towards, the issue of Immigration Reform is a hot topic. On the surface it sounds complex and as media outlets state their facts and opinions, the issue gets more attention. Although this political issue has many components, one area that needs attention is the improvement and expansion of immigrant processing centers.

According to a USA Today article, conditions of a center, in McAllen, Texas, are simply horrid. In this facility hundreds of children were separated from their families as they begun the processing steps. These extreme measures are far from welcoming. We are opening our doors to guests, while behind the curtains, Border Patrol agents begin locking up immigrants. More than that, some 345 cases of human right violations have been previously noted in these facilities where immigrants have been denied food, water and proper medical care (Androff and Tavassoli 2012). It is a complete shame to ignore these types of abuses when a person’s primary needs are withheld from them, and in many ways goes against American values. Providing these essential provisions, while immigrants are custody, would be a great improvement in overall treatment of these individuals and the processing centers themselves.


Due to the lack of centers, several migrants flock these centers seeking refuge. The problem that exists here is overcrowding. Immigrants are treated as cattle and are forced to wait in long lines for up to 72 hours and packed into these centers, where adequate food and shelter is available to them. In a recent article called, “Can the Children Speak?”, children are enclosed in small spaces they call “ice boxes”. In these detention centers all necessities are scarce, where even an investigation was taken place in 2011, describing these facilities as prisons. Children being held in spaces as these puts a toll on them; how can young ones grow and find their identity when everything around them is against it? They simply can’t. Imagine children close to your heart. Treatment such as this, even your worst enemy doesn’t deserve; nor does any living, breathing child. Conditions as these are inhumane for anyone, however there is still hope. 

Expanding and renovating current centers is key for making it feel more welcoming and hospitable for children and their families. By improving the rundown sites we begin to start opening up opportunities with the migrants coming in. In a 2015 article called, “A Year After Obama Declared a “Humanitarian Situation” at the Border, Child Migration Continues”, it shares how some detention centers in Mexico offer a more welcoming environment for the youths and their families; providing them with crafts, arts, and counseling. This feeling of being cared for can help those scared of the numerous steps become more open to sharing and participating in the process. These are ways we can enhance our centers as well; Adding small programs, where children can explore and learn, while hopefully alleviating, worries, nervousness, and doubts from their parents. These programs can also reach out to those Americans, who are heavily impacted by this subject, and give them a way to also give to these migrants, by volunteering. Not only will this help our guests, but also the patrols working there. Giving them a better environment to work in, while improving the efficiency and how they work, hopefully quickening the process.

Whether you side more with conservative or liberal standpoints, nonetheless, these issues won’t go away if we close our eyes and pretend it’s not real. Action needs to be taken to improve the state of these facilities, the children, and their families. By investing in new centers across the U.S. (preferably near the border), the issue overcrowding will be reduced, if not solved. In hopes that these advancements will show immigrants that we truly care for their wellbeing.

Work Cited:

Trevor Hughes, and USA TODAY. “Small City in Texas Shoved to Center of Furor Over  

..” USA Today. EBSCOhost, proxy.library.vcu.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType= ip,url,cookie,uid&db=a9h&AN=J0E405404952718&site=ehost-live&scope=site. Accessed 19 Oct. 2018.

Swanson, Kate & Torres, Rebecca & Thompson, Amy & Blue, Sarah & Hernández, Oscar. 

(2015). A Year After Obama Declared a “Humanitarian Situation” at the Border, Child Migration Continues. NACLA.  

Juffer, Jane. “Can the Children Speak?: Precarious Subjects at the US-Mexico Border.” Feminist 

Formations, vol. 28 no. 1, 2016, pp. 94-120. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/ff.2016.0017

Eustachewich, Lia. “How Children Live Inside Cramped Immigration Detention Centers”. 

Thenypost.Files.Wordpress.Com, 2018, https://thenypost.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/180618-immigration-cages-ice-03.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=1328. Accessed 3 Nov 2018.