Before Trump policy, immigrant families arrested at border were detained together


Before the Trump administration started separating parents and children caught illegally crossing the border, immigrant families were held together in two facilities in South Texas

>> Read more trending news

Human rights activists were outraged by the Obama administration’s decision to lock up the families, calling the practice inhumane and psychologically harmful. Immigrant watchdogs, meanwhile, argued that the family detention centers helped deter illegal immigration and protect national security.

At the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, women and children lived 12 to a building, complete with bunk beds. From their barracks, they could walk a short distance to a library, chapel and medical and dental clinics. There was also a “city park” with a soccer field, volleyball court and playground. Children attended school for four hours a day.

Erika Cisneros is one of the more than 100 attorneys, paralegals and other volunteers who recently streamed into South Texas to help the immigrant families. She objects to separating the children from their parents, and said she is particularly worried about the long-term psychological impact on the boys and girls. 

“You have innocent young children who didn’t choose, didn’t make that decision to come with their parents. Their parents brought them,” said Cisneros, an immigration attorney based in Moultrie, Georgia. “These kids are being traumatized.”

>> Related: How to help immigrant children separated from families

President Donald Trump addressed the issue Monday at the White House during a meeting with the National Space Council, emphasizing border security and repeating his call for a merit-based legal immigration system.

“The United States will not be a migrant camp and it will not be a refugee holding facility,” he said. “It won't be. If you look at what's happening in Europe, if you look at what's happening in other places, we can't allow that to happen to the United States, not on my watch.”

In 2015, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution visited that facility in Dilley and another one in Karnes City, Texas, and interviewed some of the detainees and the pro bono attorneys from Georgia who were helping them. 


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation World

Atlanta police sergeant awarded $100,000 after false DUI arrest in suburban county
Atlanta police sergeant awarded $100,000 after false DUI arrest in suburban county

An Atlanta police sergeant was awarded more than $100,000 of Forsyth County taxpayer money after a lawsuit was settled last week because he was erroneously arrested for a DUI, WSB-TV reported.  >> Read more trending news  In August 2017, Sgt. Paul Sparwath called 911 when he saw some teenagers acting suspiciously in his Forsyth County...
There have been 3 workplace shootings in 24 hours
There have been 3 workplace shootings in 24 hours

Three workplace shootings in three different states in a 24-hour period are putting American workers on edge. It seems it can happen anywhere these days and it does. >> Read more trending news  On Wednesday morning, a 43-year-old man showed up at the software company where he works outside Madison, Wisconsin, and opened fire. Four people...
Delta to launch facial recognition at check-in, boarding and other terminal locations
Delta to launch facial recognition at check-in, boarding and other terminal locations

Delta Air Lines plans to launch what it calls the nation’s first “biometric terminal” by deploying facial recognition at multiple points in the international terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson. At the Maynard H. Jackson International Terminal and Concourse F at the Atlanta airport, Delta plans to use facial recognition at check-in...
Lawsuit filed against bureau once headed by Cordray day after Dayton debate
Lawsuit filed against bureau once headed by Cordray day after Dayton debate

In a move which could impact the governor’s race between Republican Mike DeWine and Democrat Richard Cordray, two employees of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have charged they were discriminated against by officials of the bureau once headed by Cordray. The lawsuit charges that the consumer bureau “maintains a biased culture...
Kohl's will hire 90,000 seasonal employees
Kohl's will hire 90,000 seasonal employees

Kohl’s is hiring for the holidays. >> Read more trending news  The department store chain announced Thursday that it plans to hire 90,000 seasonal employees nationally for more than 1,100 stores, nine distribution centers, and five-commerce fulfillment centers and credit centers, WTKR reported. “Our early strategy is working...
More Stories