The children caged by the Trump administration and torn from their parents to be abused and neglected at the hands of sadistic ICE agents and private prison contractors became a rallying cry for Democrats making the moral case for voting for President Joe Biden.
What a relief. My son just hugged me and said “ mommy no more kids in cages!” Tears of joy and tears of sadness.
— Idina Menzel (@idinamenzel) November 7, 2020
This is why it is so important that we must grapple with the uncomfortable news that the Biden administration has recently opened its first child migrant detention center.
The Carrizo Springs detention center in Texas was built by the Trump administration and is now being reactivated by the Biden administration to deal with a huge wave of unaccompanied migrant children. “The emergency facility — a vestige of the Trump administration that was open for only a month in summer 2019 — is being reactivated to hold up to 700 children ages 13 to 17,” reports the Washington Post.
The Biden team can be trusted to quickly and efficiently match the children up with sponsors and release them to family members, but there are serious concerns about the private contractor that operates the detention center.
Disturbingly, the Biden team has contracted the same company that the Trump administration used to operate the center, Baptist Child and Family Services, which has a very ugly track record when it comes to keeping the children safe from abuse. BCFS operated the notorious “Tent City” detention camp and its workers have been accused of 23 different sexual misconduct allegations against children, while a 2015 audit found that the company had violated dozens of health and safety codes.
the Biden Admin contracted out a new child camp to a company with a record of abusing children, feeding children undercooked and raw food, and stealing from their families when they send them money. pic.twitter.com/yucNDMXE30
— Joe Kassabian (@jkass99) February 23, 2021
“It’s unnecessary, it’s costly, and it goes absolutely against everything [President] Biden promised he was going to do… It’s a step backward, is what it is. It’s a huge step backward.” said immigration lawyer Linda Brandmiller to the Washington Post.
Trump’s “zero tolerance” child separation policy was the ultimate expression of the cruelty and callous inhumanity of America’s abhorrent migrant detention system and the white supremacist ideals deeply embedded in American immigration enforcement. Ensuring that Trump and his pet Nazis didn’t have another four years in which to continue abusing innocent immigrants was a critical imperative that thankfully our nation decided to fulfill.
But we must not close our eyes and pretend that all is well now that President Joe Biden resides in the White House. Donald Trump did not build the concentration camps which he used to house the children, nor did he empower the ICE agents who hunted immigrant families across and conducted terrorizing raids on migrant communities. President Barack Obama’s administration did so, and that is why we must remain intensely vigilant and hold the new Democratic president accountable.
We must be adamant and vocal with our demands that the Biden administration dismantles the migrant detention industrial complex and practice what it preaches and follows through on its commitment to a “fair and humane” immigration system.
It does not bode well to see the Biden team reactivating the same machinery that Trump and his ghouls used to traumatize and abuse so many innocent people. Coming on the heels of a new report that shows the Department of Health and Human Services received over 4,500 complaints of sexual abuse against children between 2014 and 2019, it is painfully clear that the kids will not be safe with these people and we must hold the White House accountable.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.