Why does the United States incarcerate the victims of crime?

 

Last week, I had the incredible privilege of co-advising an Alternative Spring Break trip organized by two talented and brave NCSU students, Genesis Torres and Carl Hintz. Fifteen of us traveled to Dilley, TX where we provided support to Caraprobono, a legal organization that offers aid to women and children seeking asylum in the United States. 

Dilley is home to an ICE family detention center. The center sits next to a Texas state prison, but there is no sign on the road to indicate the detention center's location. We were prohibited from taking any photos, but you can a see a picture here. I got the sense officials wanted to keep this corner of our immigration system hidden from public view, and for good reason. The center fails to live up to American values "that all all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."

I'll be writing more on our experience in the future. We listened to the stories of dozens of women fleeing violent husbands who stalked them, death threats they could not escape by remaining in their country, and communities where gangs offered them only two choices: either work for us or lose your life. If our immigration system lived up to our values, we would not imprison these women and children. Instead, we would be asking what we could do to ensure their safety and comfort in a moment of crisis.

Image courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/EndFamilyDetention/?ref=br_rs

 

Nora Haenn