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Weekly Diaspora: Immigrants Abused, Denied Social Services in Broken Immigration System

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by Catherine A. Traywick, Media Consortium blogger:

After decades of misguided policies and patchwork practices, the high human costs of our disordered immigration system are only starting to emerge. Stricter immigration policies and overcrowded detention centers aren’t making our streets safer or our social services more accessible.

Instead, mounting evidence shows that our immigration policies are just creating a space for immigrants to be brutalized—socially, financially and physically. From reports of sexual abuse inside of detention centers to news of legal residents being denied social services, the ineffectiveness of the prevailing system has never been more apparent, nor the need for reform so great.

Women and children sexually assaulted in detention centers

As Michelle Chen writes at Colorlines, allegations of sexual abuse within a Texas detention center have sparked investigations by the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch. According to reports, a guard at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center sexually assaulted several women while transporting them prior to their release.

Human Rights Watch, which this week released a comprehensive report on sexual abuse in detention, regards the incident as representative of a larger problem that affects both women and children caught in the web of the detention system. From the report:

Children, too, have apparently been subject to alleged abuse in Texas immigration detention facilities, although their care is overseen by the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), rather than ICE. Nine Central American children, one of whom was identified as 16 years old, reported sexual and physical abuse while in the custody of Texas Sheltered Care […] the children were fondled, groped, and forced to perform oral sex on one guard, and some were beaten by other guards.