Don’t Turn Away - Define American

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Don’t Turn Away

Reporters should keep reporting on the tragic human cost of deadly migrant detention policy as the administration tries to change the subject again.

Media outlets, especially in border states, have uncovered many cases of abuse at Border Patrol stations and other migrant detention centers over the past two weeks, both before and after a government report was released showing “dangerous overcrowding and prolonged detention of children and adults in the Rio Grande Valley.”

  • The New York Times teamed up with the El Paso Times to piece together a view inside the Border Patrol station in Clint, Texas, which both papers called “The Stuff of Nightmares” in headlines. Simon Romero, Zolan Kanno-youngs, Manny Fernandez, Daniel Borunda, Aaron Montes and Caitlin Dickerson all worked on the story.
  • The Texas Tribune’s Jay Root and Riane Roldan interviewed more than a dozen migrants after their release and found massively overcrowded cells, disgusting overflowing toilets and sick coughing children, mostly at the Border Patrol station in McAllen, Texas.
  • ProPublica’s Chicago reporting team — Melissa Sanchez, Jodi S. Cohen and Duaa Eldeib —  looked at a privately run migrant shelter in Chicago and found equally disturbing conditions.
  • Deena Shanker and Polly Mosendz at Bloomberg investigated DHS contract data to find the “appalling menu of slimy sandwiches and unhealthy ramen” at the McAllen Border Patrol station.

This week, the administration is threatening massive ICE raids, as they did two weeks ago, grabbing reporters’ attention. Define American urges reporters to stay with the detention story — don’t look away — especially as tens of thousands of Americans take to the streets on Friday to call for an end to the mass detention of peaceful migrants seeking safety and security in our nation.

Follow our #DontLookAway Twitter list for critical reporting on the conditions at migrant detention camps and deaths on the border. And let us know @DefineAmerican if you have suggestions for more reporters to add.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, a pediatrician and mother, was appalled by conditions outlined in the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General report: “In most of these cases, the migrants and refugees have embarked on perilous journeys with their children in search of protection and dignity and away from violence and hunger. When they finally believe they have arrived in safety, they may find themselves separated from their loved ones and locked in undignified conditions. This should never happen anywhere.”

And finally, three more migrants died soon after coming to the United States last week: a 52-year-old man from Nicaragua, a 43-year-old Salvadoran man, and a 30-year-old Honduran father.

*About the header image from Karla Ross, Define American Art Fellow:

“When we take action, we should not do so simply because we see pictures of children crying or dying now — we take action to honor the lives and struggle of all the people who came before us. We take action because we know we have the power to make things right for the ones who will come after — because we believe we can make it so that no child has to grow up inside a cage ever again.”

“I Am a Child” by Karla Daniela Rosas
“I Am a Child” by Karla Daniela Rosas

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