What’s Next? Urgent PostCard Campaign – Imprisoning Children Is STILL Wrong

Homestead Migrant Child Camp, Homestead Florida 2019, Photo Credit – Julie Swift. Can you see the children being unloaded to the camp in the middle of the night? Why the secrecy?

Urgent Postcard – Mailing February 24-26

Because of this announcement What’s Next? is sharing this additional Post Card Campaign. Please share and send postcards. All you need to know is below. Thank you!

Recently the Biden administration has announced that it is opening/reopening several “Influx” Child Detention Centers. We oppose these moves and need to make sure that the Biden administration hears our opposition. 

Background:

We are deeply concerned, horrified in fact, about the reinstitution of mass detention facilities for teenagers and children who are seeking asylum from various parts of the world, particularly the notoriously dangerous and cartel-run nations in the Central American Triangle. We have been witnessing the horrors of the past four years and earlier. The law and policy require placement of unaccompanied immigrant/refugee minors in the least restrictive environment. We have seen that institutionalizing youth who have experienced prolonged and acute stressors, many for over a year, leaves them wounded and vulnerable. We have seen that hastily established detention facilities do not contribute to the well-being of the children who are already hurting. And we know that the prolonged detentions thousands have already experienced cause lasting damage. And adding a private-for-profit element to these detentions leads to inappropriate and unskilled staff working for low wages. In the past, these for-profit facilities, like Homestead, forbid outside monitors, even government employees and elected officials. Evidence of sexual assault, abuse, isolation, malnutrition, and health risks has emerged and been well-documented. Who is vetting the “caregivers”? How were profit-centered companies selected? We thought the Biden administration would do better. We expect a response to our concerns. Immediately.

We ask that the administration rethink the playbook on how to handle unaccompanied migrant children.  Approach this as a social service problem to be solved, not a military/detention problem.

“We’re more than capable of surging resources to the border to humanely and fairly process these children without sending them to influx facilities,” said Lisa Koop, the associate director of legal services at the National Immigrant Justice Center.

This campaign is being sent to President Biden, Vice President Harris, Alejandro Mayorkas (Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security) and Xavier Becerra (Secretary of Health and Human Services). If you can, we suggest you also write to your Senators and member of Congress. To make this a successful campaign, please follow these instructions for writing and mailing your cards:

1. Download the postcard (Photo image from Homestead Detention Center.)  https://heartmessageshome.files.wordpress.com/2021/02/fbc92-urgenthomestead.pdf

2. Print your postcards: Four postcards per sheet, double sided (needs to include the photo credit on the back) on card stock. You can purchase card stock and cut apart or  Avery has postcard stock available that is perforated for separation (any of their  products that are 4 1/4″ x 5 1/2″, 4 per sheet). If you do not have capability to print double sided, you can print single side. This postcard also looks good printed in black/white. 

3. Write your postcards. The theme for this card is Imprisoning Children is STILL Wrong. Talking points are suggested. In your own words, choose one or more topics to address:  

  1. Close Carrizo Springs. DO NOT OPEN Homestead/Biscayne Influx Care Facility,
  2. Restrictive detention is harmful to children
  3. Large scale detention is not a good model to use for caring for children.
  4. No one should profit – eliminate all for-profit detention.
  5. Influx facilities do not have to adhere to state child protective laws.
  6. These facilities should not be in out of the way locations where oversight is difficult.
  7. Hiring companies with a history of child abuse is alarming.
  8. Specific to Homestead: 
    1. Children are crossing the border in Texas, Arizona and California – why fly them all the way to Florida?
    2. The Site was devastated by hurricane Andrew and is known to be polluted with toxic waste.
    3. This area is prone to hurricanes.
  1. Address your cards to:

The President 

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue 

Washington, D.C. 20500

Vice President Harris

The White House

Office of the Vice President

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue 

Washington, DC 20500

The Honorable Alejandro Mayorkas

Secretary of Homeland Security

2707 Martin Luther King, Jr. SE 

Washington, DC 20528

The Honorable Xavier Becerra 

Health and Human Services

200 Independence Avenue, S.W. 

Washington, D.C. 20201

4. Apply a 35cent postcard stamp to each card  

5. Drop your cards in the mail between February 24-26. 

EXTRA CREDIT  –

Several What’s Next? participants have asked for additional people to send postcards to. If you would like to run an extra sheet, others you can write to are listed below. Blinken is the Secretary of State. Ruiz is the Chair of the Congressional Caucus. Becerra is the Health and Human Services Secretary nominee.  

The Honorable Antony Blinken 

Secretary of State 

US Department of State 

2201 C St., NW 

Washington, DC 20520

 

Representative Paul Ruiz 

2342 Rayburn HOB 

Washington, DC 20515 

Representative Nancy Pelosi 

235 Cannon HOB 

Washington, DC 20515

Also if you can, send postcards to your members of Congress.

This cannot happen again. Thank you for your effort to end this inhumanity.

Mary, Karla, Julie, Glen, Margaret, Patty, Nancy

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