#DilleyDispatches: Welcome to Baby Jail, Holiday Edition

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Claire R. Thomas is an attorney and adjunct professor interested in migration, statelessness, human rights, and empowerment for women and girls facing poverty and gender-based violence. Based in New York City, Thomas advocates for immigrant children facing deportation from the United States as an attorney with the Safe Passage Project and teaches at New York Law School.

Twas a few weeks before Christmas and all through the trailer, stockings were taped to the walls by the jailers. Garlands and lights and more festive flair, an attempt to make you forget it’s not fair.

Welcome to Baby Jail, the holiday edition.

Some things have changed, but much stays the same. The women still personify dignity, grace, and strength when faced with horrific circumstances. They honor us with their presence and remind us of why we advocate on their behalf to end family detention. Adorable little children who have survived unspeakable horrors run around unsupervised, as this center is truly not a child care facility. Yet they suddenly appear at a moment’s notice to act like small, protective forces around their mothers. Despite how cute and innocent they appear, we can only wonder about how much of this experience remains with them. What must they be thinking, these strong little people, who have crossed countries and sometimes oceans, seeking safety in their mothers’ arms, only to be held here and detained?

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