The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests affirms that all justice issues are interrelated. Justice for the poor, justice for the marginalized, justice for women, including women in the world and church are constitutive to the Gospel of Jesus. As Dominican Sister Marge Tuite taught us: " Make the connections between sexism and racism, sexism and nationalism, sexism and militarism, SEXISM AND CAPITALISM..."
So then why are we continuing these horrific policies that are scarring children—the most innocent and vulnerable among us?
..."Then, five years later, President Obama abruptly decided to resume family detention, a decision made public in an ill-timed announcement by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)—on World Refugee Day in 2014. The change in policy was likely a response to theinflux of unaccompanied Central American minors arriving in the U.S. last summer, which caused great controversy in Congress. Now, reported The Times, “Since June of last year, the Obama administration has upended that tradition [of allowing asylum applicants to live with family and friends]. Rather than release the families on bond to await a hearing, officials place virtually all women with children into the new detention facilities.” That includes a baby as young as 14 days old.
Like much of what the Democrats do in comparison to Republicans, brutality has a veneer of humanity. Originally called the Karnes County Civil Detention Center, the Texas prison where hundreds of women and children are locked up was recently euphemistically renamed Karnes County Residential Center. The center is run by the GEO Group, the second-largest private company after CCA operating prisons in the United States. It received a makeover to transform it from a prison into nothing more than a nicer-looking prison. Furniture is colorful and kid-friendly. A large, painted sign reading “Bienvenidos Welcome” greets people at the door. But the soft facade obscures the fact that it incarcerates mothers and babies.
Sameera Hafiz, a legislative and policy consultant with the group “We Belong Together,” has been working closely with the immigrants detained at Karnes. She explained in an interview on “Uprising” that most of the women involved in a hunger strike at Karnes in early April had “passed their credible fear interviews, so they had made an initial showing that they are eligible for asylum because they faced persecution if they are returned to their home countries.” These mothers were attempting to go through the legal process of applying for immigration status. It was only after they remained imprisoned for months under unbearable conditions that they began fasting to draw public attention...."One possible reason is simply that there is a great hunger for our tax dollars from private corporations like GEO and CCA that have crafted a business model based on incarceration. Ryan revealed that “today if a woman and child arrive at the border and there is no room at the for-profit, private detention center, then that woman and child is apparently not a threat to our nation’s security and they are released.” This means that those families unlucky enough to arrive at the border when beds are available will be locked up. Ryan added that the “government’s quota ... was established to keep those companies profitable by maintaining 34,000 people in detention every night.” Every mother and child incarcerated at facilities like Karnes are simply a conduit for funneling $350 a day into corporate coffers. Today I want to be a willful disturber!
We can call the White House and our representatives in Congress. Benefit of the doubt - they do not know about this - and we are strong with all our contacts. And remember that song "I am woman, hear me roar" WE can put an end to this. Rita Lucey ARCWP, www.arcwp.org