Some heard their children screaming for them in the next room

The Post on Representative Pramila Jayapal’s visit to the detention center where women are being held apart from their children:

Although Seattle is some 1,500 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border, the debate over family separations hit closer to home for the Evergreen State after dozens of undocumented immigrants were transferred last week to the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac, near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Nearly all of those migrants — 174 out of 206 — were women, said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who spent about three hours Saturday morning meeting with the recently moved detainees at the SeaTac facility.

Most of them were from Cuba, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, she said, but there were also people from as far away as Eritrea. Many spoke of fleeing threats of rape, gang violence and political persecution, Jayapal said.

She asked the women to raise their hands if they’d been forcibly separated from their children, and more than half did.

Some said that their children had been as young as 12 months — and many no longer knew where their children were being held.

“It was absolutely heartbreaking. And I’ve been doing immigration-rights work for almost two decades. I am not new to these stories,” Jayapal told The Washington Post on Sunday. “I will tell you there was not a dry eye in the house. … Some of them heard their children screaming for them in the next room. Not a single one of them had been allowed to say goodbye or explain to them what was happening.”

It sounds all too familiar.


Back to the Post and the present day:

On Saturday, Jayapal and others gathered in front of the detention center to denounce the practice of separating children that had produced the “heartbreaking” stories they said they had heard inside. They spoke over the din of protesters demanding that arriving migrants should be allowed by law to seek asylum.

“We’ve gathered here to say one central message: Cruelty to children should not be part of American policy,” Gov. Jay Inslee (D) told the crowd. “Intentional infliction of injury to children is below the standards of America. In America, the willful infliction of trauma against children is not acceptable. America is better than this. Inhumane, callous indifference and willful injury to children must stop.”

Right now America is not better than this. Right now America is just this horrendous.

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