In a blog post for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), ACLU Senior Advocacy and Policy Counsel Naureen Shah detailed her nauseating 2015 visit to Guantanamo Bay, a “site of torture, where our country’s leaders have long embraced or tolerated injustice.” And, she notes, it’s a place that the Department of Homeland Security has considered housing migrant children.
It was revealed in April that government officials seriously considered sending migrant children to an abandoned “dormitory facility” at Guantanamo Bay, and while there are no “immediate” plans to send children to the site, a government spokesperson said, it is not completely out of the realm of possibility. The Defense Department recently granted a $23 million dollar contract for the creation of a “Contingency Mass Migration Complex” at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station.
“Studies show that kids in immigration detention suffer emotionally and physically, with traumatizing conditions including ‘sleep[ing] on cement floors,’ ‘insufficient foods and water,’ and ‘extremely cold temperatures,’” Shah wrote. “But sending kids to Guantanamo is uniquely dangerous.”
Shah noted that in addition to the massive risk of housing migrant children in moderately close proximity to violent criminals, there is a strong likelihood that the Defense Department would restrict the ability for journalists and human rights watchdogs to ensure that officials aren’t committing heinous abuses.
“Members of Congress, who’ve already been refused access to visit detention facilities on the mainland, may have little or no ability to conduct effective oversight at Guantanamo. Kids sent to Guantanamo might be put in expedited removal proceedings (deported without the opportunity to see a judge) that we’ve explained ‘invite, and guarantee, error.’
“The Trump administration might argue they have no rights at Guantanamo at all.”