Unit 3, Advocacy Speech

Improving the Look and Feel of Immigrant Detention Centers

Millions of children attend preschool daily, where one of the first things they see when walking in the door are pictures and painting of art work they have hung up. This brings joy to many children, to see their masterpieces hanging proudly for all to see. However, several migrant children don’t get this warming experience. In fact, detention centers across America get the total opposite, their toys and possessions are stolen from them, stripping away what little happiness they do have. No programs are set up to help them grow and mature into finding their identity. Even centers in Mexico have art classes, crafts, and counseling available for immigrants; so why can’t we do the same?

Several cases of immigrants being mistreated have been swept under the rug, where many people have not heard about the events being taken place. From a recent USA Today article,  a detention center in McAllen, Texas has Border Patrol agents that have begun 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. Experiencing this as a child or at any age is simply traumatic. For a detention center it should, at the bare minimum, provide families the necessities to live even though the conditions are not ideal; unfortunately this isn’t the case.  

According to a recent article called, “Can the Children Speak?”, children are being held in small spaces known as “ice boxes”, which 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.

Improving the look and feel of these centers is key to establishing a place more welcoming and open to immigrants. There are numerous ways we can do this. By forming organizations focused around improving centers around America, we begin to help broken families. These programs will provide several opportunities for the public to donate food, unwanted clothes, blankets, and toys. By creating this organization it will also engage those who are interested in volunteer work to help paint and renovate the rundown facilities; then potentially build more centers like it to avoid overcrowding.

In detention centers, under our own borders children and their families are suffering daily. Individuals come to America to seek refuge; so lets make it happen. To bring community inside these centers and provide migrants with ways to feel comfortable. Then they will be able to focus on their next steps when they are ready to leave. Action needs to be taken into play to improve the conditions on the outside and inside.


Work Cited:

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

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.  

Tovino, Stacey A. “Of Mice and Men: On the Seclusion of Immigration Detainees and Hospital

Patients.” Minnesota Law Review, vol. 100, no. 6, June 2016, pp. 2381–2432. EBSCOhost, proxy.library.vcu.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,url,cookie,uid&db=a9h&AN=116408375&site=ehost-live&scope=site.

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.