It deeply saddens me to write that the inhumane and archaic practice of family detention is growing in our country. As LIRS and other organizations have documented again and again, detention is no place for children. There is no humane method to detain families.
Most recently, Liz Sweet, LIRS Director for Access to Justice, wrote about her eye-opening visit to the Karnes detention center in Texas in the guest post, “Mama, Why Are We Prisoners?”
Sweet, an immigration advocate and attorney, has visited many immigrant detention facilities. Yet nothing prepared her for Karnes, and seeing children, and infants, detained. When she sat down to speak with a group of women, a two year old played with an empty orange juice container on her right. On her left, a mother held her nine month old. This sight was nothing new. At Karnes this past July, the average age of children was only six years old.
Yet it continues. A new family detention center is slated to open in November in Dilley, Texas.
In response to this growing use of inhumane family detention, LIRS and the Southwestern Texas Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America are holding a prayer vigil at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Karnes City, Texas. Join us on Monday, October 20th at 11 am as we stand together in opposition to family detention and in support of family unity. Folabi Olagbaju, LIRS National Grassroots Director is coordinating the vigil.
As Sweet questioned in her blog post, and we continue to ask:
What explanation do we have for detaining breastfeeding babies, two and four year olds? What explanation do we have for putting 532 women and children—98% of whom seek protection from persecution– into a detention center?
Join the event on Facebook and share the flyer with your friends and family. For those in other areas, use #ActOfLove to show your support for the vigil and for detained families.