This week, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted a link to an Esquire article titled “An Expert on Concentration Camps Says That’s Exactly What the U.S. Is Running at the Border” which sparked controversy over the Trump administration’s handling of refugees. AOC captioned her tweet “This administration has established concentration camps on the southern border of the United States for immigrants, where they are being brutalized with dehumanizing conditions and dying. This is not a hyperbole. It is the conclusion of expert analysis.”
In the past week, there has been a resurgence of attention on the southern border due to new information regarding the conditions of the concentration camps in Texas. Clara Long, a researcher for Human Rights Watch described the environment as “The kids had colds and were sick and said they didn’t have access to soap to wash their hands. It was an alcohol-based cleanser. Some kids who were detained for 2-3 weeks had only one or two opportunities to shower.”
A team of lawyers, doctors, and advocates noted that children are being held past the legal time limit, people are going weeks without showering or changing clothes, poor quality food with little to no variation, most of the refugees they interacted with are sick, and young children are not being looked after, forcing migrant youth to care for the babies. AP reported that the young migrant girls stated that “a Border Patrol agent came in our room with a 2-year-old boy and asked us, ‘Who wants to take care of this little boy?’ Another girl said she would take care of him, but she lost interest after a few hours and so I started taking care of him yesterday.”
Feminists have been speaking out about the crisis of immigration since Trump initiated his zero tolerance seperation policy which separated thousands of families in hopes of forcefully scaring away more asylum seekers. Refugee families who fled to America in hopes of temporary safety from their homelands are still recovering from these seperation polices that have created a Caribbean diaspora.
Last year, over 30,000 people gathered in Lafayette Square across from the White House to protest Trump’s policy of family separation and indefinite detention at the southern border. Hundreds of thousands of people marched nationwide in sister marches in over 700 different cities. Protesters marched down Pennsylvania Avenue, past the White House, demanding that Trump reunite the families he separated. They then marched around the Justice Department, leaving signs in front of the building. Feminist Majority attended the protest and was led by President Eleanor Smeal.
Media Resources: CNN Politics 6/21/29; AP 6/21/19; CBS News 6/21/19; Bustle 6/20/19; CBS NEWS 6/18/19; VOX 6/20/19; Feminist Newswire 7/9/18