In the wake of President Donald J. Trump’s new executive order on the separation of migrant children from their families, Brooklyn Democratic Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke has headed New York’s congressional delegation in demanding information on child detention centers and private prison contractors from the administration.
Clarke — the daughter of Jamaican immigrants who represents the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn – said on Monday that Democratic Congressional Representatives Nydia M. Velázquez, José E. Serrano, Gregory W. Meeks, Hakeem Jeffries and Grace Meng have joined her in dispatching a letter to the U.S. Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, and Justice seeking answers to their concerns.
Clarke said that while the Trump administration recently issued Executive Order 13841 “to purportedly end its inhumane child separation policy, this new executive order means that private prison contractors will still be profiting off of the suffering of immigrant children.
“This creates perverse incentives for private firms to engage in practices that will leave children worse off,” she said.
In their letter on Monday, the congressional representatives said that the new executive order “was not based on compassion for migrant children fleeing violence, but instead defeats our mission as a nation of immigrants. As a result of this executive order, migrant children will now potentially be detained with their families in private prison facilities indefinitely, inflicting unnecessary emotional pain and suffering.
“Yet, this executive order is not self-executing,” the congressional representatives added.
“Instead, it relies on your agencies and the support of a myriad collection of private prison contractors who stand to benefit financially off the perpetual suffering of migrant children.”
The New York Congressional Representatives said that at least five federal contractors will receive hundreds of millions of dollars to help implement the Trump administration’s “unethical detention and removal policies.”
They added that, in contrast, corporations, such as American Airlines, “have bravely asked your administration to refrain from using their services to transport children thousands of miles away from their parents.”
The representatives, therefore, asked the Trump administration, among other questions, “which private prison contractors and subcontractors have received government contracts that involve carrying out or assisting with your previous policy of separating migrant children from their families?”
The Congressmembers pointed to what they described as “the perverse financial incentives reaped by profiting from the suffering of others as need for strong congressional oversight in the matter.”
Over the weekend, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators protested across America against Trump’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy.
Demonstrators — who gathered outside the White House in Washington, D.C. and several miles from Trump’s Bedminster golf resort in New Jersey, where the president was playing golf — also protested what they characterized as the administration’s seeming difficulty in reuniting formerly separated families at America’s borders.