Op-Ed: Conditions at the Border

Kasiya Lamberty, Staff Writer

A tremendous amount of negative effects are beginning to pile up as a result of immigration detention centers. These effects range from long lasting trauma, to mistreatment of immigrants by guards, as well as terrible conditions. The number of cases piling up clearly calls for a solution to these alarming issues. Although this system was put in place to protect our country from potential criminals that may enter, reforms are clearly needed to ensure the safety of everyone.

The majority of the time immigrant parents are separated from their children immediately upon crossing the border. In most cases these families are broken up and detained in separate locations, often going months without contact from those family members. Besides immigrant parents having their children ripped from their arms, they’re often denied information on their child’s whereabouts, according to the CNN article, “Letters from Inside an Immigration Detention Center.” In some situations where the children end up reunited with their family, they still suffer trauma as a result of this course of action. Prolonged periods of separation can cause depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in children and parents. Some parents unfortunately even commit suicide due to the overwhelming grief of being unable to see their children. According to another CNN article, “The Chill of Detention: Migrants Describe Their Experiences in US Custody,” the environment presented in detention centers can be absolutely detrimental to a person’s health.

Other flaws in our current system are the inhumane conditions in immigration detention centers. The majority of these centers fail to provide comfortable conditions and adequate resources to detainees, according to the CNN. Most migrants that were detained mentioned being given frozen food that was unfit to eat and being denied water; and if they received water it was foul-smelling. The hygiene of the migrants weren’t considered either, most being denied showers for several days. $260 million in funds were shifted to cover the costs of holding immigrant children in custody (CNN), so one would assume some of these conditions would have improved.  

While it is important to keep the United States safe, it comes down to the fact that the treatment of detainees at the border is inhumane, and there is much to be desired before most of these facilities can be seen in a better light. America has always been seen as a beacon of hope for those that wish to strive for a better life. The message being sent to detainees through these actions, unfortunately, says otherwise.