ICE, Migrant Children, and Maine, by Raina Overskride

The Biden administration is opening up a facility near Carrizo Springs, Texas where the U.S. Immigrations, Customs, and Enforcement Agency (ICE) will be holding unaccompanied migrant children. The facility, formerly a camp for oil field workers, was used briefly by the Trump administration in 2019 for the same purpose. The news is depressing and disappointing.

The U.S. government is still abusing migrant children. Offering relief and hope to peoples of Latin America is not on the agenda. Rather, the U.S. government has a hand in creating troubles there no less than at border crossings into the United States.

Why is it that children are locked up?  Maybe, deep down, it’s because those in charge all too easily tolerate human suffering. That’s perhaps why over half a million Americans have died from Covid-19, many unnecessarily; why black and brown people die from the infection at disproportionately high rates; why Syria is bombed; and why the Biden administration, offering a relief package, cut back on supplemental income payments, originally set at $2000. 

We ask you, the reader, to imagine for one moment: you are barely surviving, your life is in danger, family members’ lives are endangered. The corrupt, often authoritarian government of your country foments violence.  Consequently, you put everything on the line. You seek a better life inside the “belly of the beast.”

You know, or with time may realize, that that’s the source of many of the troubles afflicting your own country. They took root, many of them, courtesy of U.S. interventions and neoliberal-type restrictions.   

Your homeland is in a war zone, with bombings and killings. Drug cartels threaten violence against those close to you. Now at the U.S. border, your child is gone, held in a fenced-in tent city. You yourself, if you crossed, may be caged, and the future is bleak.

This is where ICE fits in. ICE is a daily reality for countless families across the United States. Resistance is in order. The working class has a special obligation, and in Maine too.

News item: Construction proceeds with an ICE facility in Scarborough, Maine. According to the Bangor Daily News, “ICE authorities will process, fingerprint and detain people suspected of immigration violations at the facility.” Commenting to the BDN on February 24, Zeb Green of Skowhegan, points out that, “If we allow ICE processing facilities in Maine, we are encouraging and sanctioning the abuse of our neighbors.”

We say No to separating children from families at U.S. borders or anywhere. The present policy, continuing, is a cruel holdover of the rightwing, extremist Trump administration. The first action we call for, an easy one, is to let elected officials know, beginning with the Maine senators. Tell them that crimes against humanity won’t be tolerated, that migrant children need to reunite with their families, that ICE must be fixed, that our immigrant brothers and sisters something other than “illegal aliens.”

Send an email: Senator Angus King (https://www.king.senate.gov/contact) and Senator Susan Collins (https://www.collins.senate.gov/contact)