Migrant children are required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in detention centers, 'out of respect' for America
On Saturday night, the Trump administration released a plan to reunite the more than 2,000 children separated from their parents under President Trump's "zero tolerance" border policy, but immigrant advocates and shelter operators say that will be no easy feat. The children, some barely old enough to speak, are spread around the U.S. in groups as small as 10, "in Michigan and Maryland, in foster homes in California and shelters in Virginia, in cold, institutional settings with adults who are not permitted to touch them or with foster parents who do not speak Spanish but who hug them when they cry," The Washington Post reports. Already, "the children have been through hell," the Post says:
And now they live and wait in unfamiliar places: big American suburban houses where no one speaks their language; a locked shelter on a dusty road where they spend little time outside; a converted Walmart where each morning they are required to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance, in English, to the country that holds them apart from their parents. Why must they say those words, some of the children ask at the shelter in Brownsville, on the Mexican border in Texas? "We tell them, 'It's out of respect,'" said one employee. [The Washington Post]
The toll-free Office of Refugee Resettlement hotline migrant parents are being told to call to locate their children is jammed and uninformative, and "U.S. authorities are compiling mug shots of the children in detention" to help connect parents with kids, the Post says. "Immigration lawyers who have seen the pictures say some of them show children in tears."
The children are fed and offered activities, including arts-and-crafts classes and rudimentary "Know Your Rights" presentations delivered by outsider lawyers, the Post says. "Some kids engage. Some remain silent. Some have not spoken for weeks." You can read more about how these children are living at The Washington Post.