Selena Gomez is speaking out against the “inhumane” treatment of children in border detention centers
In late June 2018, a federal judge ruled that the government must reunite immigrant families who had been separated under the Trump administration’s zero tolerance immigration policy. But in the year since then, children coming over the border without accompanying guardians (or with them, in some cases) have continued to be detained. Many have spoken out against this practice, and recently, Selena Gomez added her voice to the chorus.
A June 21st report from The New York Times reignited outrage over the situation at the border when it revealed that children in a Texas detention center had no access to soap, toothpaste, or toothbrushes. The Times also reported that the detention center was overcrowded and that some sick children were going without medical care or treatment.
In a June 30th Instagram post, Gomez urged her followers to take action in light of these horrific revelations.
"Kids in cages!" she wrote. "Sleeping on concrete floors with aluminum blankets! No access to simple dignities! How is this still happening??? It’s absolutely inhumane to treat anyone like this let alone children. I can’t even imagine what they are going through. We need to get this to finally stop! Don’t stay silent on this human rights issue—please call your reps 202.224.3121#CloseTheCamps#FamilesBelongTogether"
Vox notes that over the past few weeks, the U.S. Border Patrol has had approximately 2,000 children in its custody at any point. These detained minors are supposed to be released to the Department of Health and Human Services after 72 hours but, according to Vox, this is not happening in practice. A Justice Department lawyer argued in a hearing on June 18th that detainees might not need toothbrushes and soap, according to HuffPost. A 1997 court settlement requires the government to make sure that conditions in detention centers are “safe and sanitary.”
These revelations are horrifying, and in the wake of these reports, many have been outraged. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez responded by calling the centers “concentration camps” on Twitter.
Amid these shocking reports of conditions for detained minors, we’re glad to see people like Gomez speaking out. As she wrote in her Instagram post, you can help by contacting your elected officials. We can’t be silent any longer.