5 Facts about the Conditions of Immigrant Detention Camps

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SEATTLE, Washington —  Governments all over the world have detention centers for immigrants, refugees and any asylum seekers. Many of these immigrants are fleeing to other countries to escape from violent and inhumane conditions in their home country. More recently, the question has been raised as to whether or not the U.S. detention camps should be considered concentration camps because of the conditions immigrants are facing. Here are 5 facts about the conditions of immigrant detentions camps currently being discussed in the media.

5 Facts about the Conditions of Immigrant Detention Centers

  1. Overcrowding: Overcrowding is a major problem with detention centers and is one of the main reason’s illnesses are spread easily throughout the camps. Recently, detention camps have been known to hold more than 155 detainees in cells built for 35 people. Others have reported that detainees have to stand on top of toilets to accomodate the number of people shoved into one cell. Overcrowding in detention camps is a health risk not just because of the ease of illness spreading but also because of the lack of space for detainees to sit or rest in the cells. 
  2. No Medical Care: There are multiple detention camps throughout the U.S. that do not have access to medical care for detainees. Without access to medical care, many immigrants, especially children, fall ill. With overcrowding added as a factor, these illnesses spread and are hard to contain because of the lack of medical care access. Most of the time, when detainees are sick with high fevers and other symptoms, they are not taken to hospitals where they would receive medical care. This increases the likeliness of spreading illnesses and increases the risk of death. According to a recent report, at least seven children have died in the last year in detention camps. 
  3. No Access to Water: Many detention camps lack access to clean water. Reports have said that accessible water for detainees has foul odors or is discolored. Some children and teens have told reporters that they have not had access to water to brush their teeth let alone shower in their cells. One reporter even stated that, as soon as he walked into one detention camp, he could smell the people who had been there a long time without showering. 
  4. No Access to Basic Sanitation: Because of the lack of access to clean water, access basic sanitation in detention camps is limited. Women have reported not having access to menstrual sanitation products and mothers have reported not having access to a place where they can clean baby bottles. As a result of overcrowding, access to bathrooms is limited causing even more of a decline in sanitary conditions in the cells. 
  5. Children are Separated from Adult Family Members: Many children in immigrant detention camps are separated from their families. Some are placed in foster families while others are held in detention camps until they are placed with other adult relatives who are not in the camps. Older children could be there until they turn 18. The separation of children and their parents is scarring for children, especially younger ones who are not old enough to understand why they are being separated.

The Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act of 2019

The Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act of 2019 is sponsored by New Jersey Senator Cory A. Booker and is currently in rotation with the Senate. This act sets stricter standards for detention camps. These standards include periodic inspections, investigations of deaths in custody, annual reports to Congress. It would also do away with private private prison as detention centers.

These 5 facts about the conditions of immigrant detention camps are the main talking points circulating around the political scene. The conditions in which immigrants are living in at detention camps needs to be improved, and stricter regulations must be followed and enforced by the government. Hopefully, the recent the information that has come to light on the conditions of immigrant detention camps will help to create stricter regulations and provide aid for current detainees.

Chelsea Wolfe
Photo: Unsplash

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