As you celebrate the holidays this season, take at least a moment and think of the nearly 15,000 children currently detained in Donald Trump’s child prison camps.
Most of the migrant children are teenage boys from Central America who crossed the southern border unaccompanied. Most were escaping gangs or poverty and are seeking asylum in the U.S. In November, an average of 175 unaccompanied children crossed the border every day. A senior official with the Department of Health and Human Services blamed a broken immigration system that acts as a “perverse incentive” for undocumented children to cross the border in the first place. Damn this American freedom.
The more than 100 federally contracted shelters (that means someone’s making a lot of money off of this) are 92 percent full. The largest shelter is in Tornillo, West Texas, and it’s composed of heated tents a few hundred yards from the Rio Grande. Currently, there are 2,800 children in the Tornillo shelter. It can accommodate 3,800 children.
There are sponsors waiting for many of these kids. The sponsors are usually family members and the children stay with them while their respective cases for asylum are pending. There is a vetting process for the sponsors, but that process has slowed down to a crawl. The daily discharge rate is about one percent. The Trump administration vets sponsors’ immigration status and requires all adults in a household seeking to care for an immigrant child to submit their fingerprints for a background check. Previous administrations did not do this. They are discouraging people from sponsoring these children.
There are also children being detained because of Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy that separates parents from their children at the southern border.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, detained children often suffer from anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. I’m sure that will be on Donald Trump’s mind while he’s golfing at Mar-a-Lago during his Christmas vacation. I hear the resort makes a mean ham.
While the shelters will give the children Christmas “festivities,” they won’t be with their families. They won’t be receiving hugs.
I hope it rains all week at Mar-a-Lago.
Creative note: This cartoon is the bookend to my Fourth of July Cartoon, Feliz Dia De La Independencia. I’m not a huge fan of holiday cartoons and unless I draw one for The Costa Rica Star this week, this is my last Christmas cartoon of the year. I’ve managed to avoid any sitting on Santa’s lap cartoons or drawing the Grinch, who has been in more commercials than Shaq.
My cartoons have file dates and this one’s the 25th (I’m ridiculously ahead and need to take a day off). Though my clients are not required to embargo the cartoons until their file date, I hope at least one of them runs this on Christmas day. Maybe instead of publishing some sentimental holiday crap, they can give their readers something to think about.
Watch me draw.