'Private-Prison Model in the Guise of a Shelter': Ex-Employee Reveals the Repugnant System Imprisoning Immigrant Kids

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Antar Davidson, a former employee and whistleblower at an American detention center for immigrant children who says he left for reasons of conscience, appeared on MSNBC Thursday night to speak about the cruel conditions President Donald Trump’s administration has forced families to live under.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced recently that it would be stepping up enforcement of laws against unauthorized entry into the United States, effectively tearing apart immigrants parents and children, many of whom are legally seeking asylum. This has left the U.S. government in charge of hundreds if not thousands of kids who are essentially being indefinitely imprisoned without knowing when they will be reunited with their families.

Davidson explained how mental health services are sometimes completely inadequate to support the children who are detained, with understaffing and language barriers. Generally, he said, the staff are poorly trained to deal with traumatized kids.

“We received one week of training, and now these kids are extremely traumatized,” he said. “As much as the children are suffering, the workers are suffering. They’re kept in temporary positions. …  The people, at the end of the day, when they have to put these kids to sleep, have already worked an eight-hour shift, are oftentimes asked to stay overtime, and exhausted. And on top of that, these kids are extremely traumatized. They’re running up and down the halls, screaming, crying for their moms, throwing chairs.”

He added: “Meanwhile, the CEO and his wife clear more than $1 million a year in mostly federal tax money. And they basically undercut the services. So it’s a basic private-prison model, in the guise of this shelter.”

Watch the clip below:

Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.

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