Detention of Women and Children Will Expand Under Trump

On Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security announced plans to put Trump’s Executive Order on immigration into policy. As Quita covered yesterday, these plans will have devastating consequences for undocumented people and their loved ones by expanding the deportation machine President Obama built for Trump. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been directed to target undocumented people convicted of any crime, expedite their removal, and hire a task force of 10,000+ new agents to get the job done.

In addition, ICE has been directed to expand the system of immigrant detention centers, institutions plagued with reports of abuse and unsafe conditions, which activists had been successfully fighting under Obama. One of the most absurd rules which immigrant rights groups challenged was the mandatory minimum bed mandate, which required that ICE maintain a certain number of beds in detention at all times. (The National Immigrant Justice Center points out that ICE is the only law enforcement agency subject to a statutory quota on the number of individuals to hold in detention.) Under President Obama the mandate was 34,000 beds each day, but Trump has more than doubled that number to 80,000.

Asking ICE to double its capacity for detaining people is a tall–and dangerous–order. Migration from Central America continues as people flee horrific violence (violence with roots in U.S. foreign intervention) and more and more, the people arriving at our border are women and children. Trump now plans to arrest and detain these people at rates even higher than Obama, putting them into a system that has been known for holding trans detainees in solitary confinement, providing absolutely abysmal healthcare to people who are struggling with physical and mental traumas, and even allowing for the sexual abuse of detainees.

If ICE was incapable of safely holding detainees before, asking them to double their capacity immediately is sure to worsen conditions for people being held under their care. This announcement is horrifying for undocumented people and asylum-seekers, and devastating for activists who have pushed for so long to end this inhumane practice.

Header image by John Moore via Al Jazeera

Bay Area, California

Juliana is a digital storyteller for social change. As a writer at Feministing since 2013, her work has focused on women's movements throughout the Americas for environmental justice, immigrant rights, and reproductive justice. In addition to her writing, Juliana is a Senior Campaigner at Change.org, where she works to close the gap between the powerful and everyone else by supporting people from across the country to launch, escalate and win their campaigns for justice.

Juliana is a Latina feminist writer and campaigner based in the Bay Area.

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