A photo showcasing how ICE detained children are transported has sparked backlash, with critics calling it a “prison bus for babies.”
Karnes County Residential Center is one of the nations largest family detention centers under ICE. The Texas area center landed on radar of many over the weekend after news of U.S. government’s loss of nearly 1,500 immigrant children.
The photo below was featured on GEO Group’s website, a private prison contractor to Karnes in 2016, where they spoke highly of the revamped vehicle and how it features “standard commercial grade cushioned seating” (Graco’s car seats) and films for children to watch during transport missions.
It’s also noted that Graco is a subsidiary of Newell Brands led by billionaire investor Carl Icahn. The activist investor briefly worked as an advisor on regulatory reform issues to President Donald Trump.
In an effort to highlight the positives of the bus, the blog post claims the company and ICE provides the vehicle with one nurse, two teachers and one case manager for off-site trips.
Graco has yet to comment about their baby seats being used in the buses. The Obama administration folded connections with private prisons in August 2016, but the decision was reversed once Trump took office.
Meanwhile, activists have tried to share the severity behind the narrative of the currently missing children from ICE. Some children may have ended up in the hands of human traffickers disguised as sponsors. Others have either willing left ICE detainment for their own safety or actually separated from their parents at the border.
Lawyer and Fair Justice Project’s Josie shared the differences on social media, claiming the misinterpretations “could SERIOUSLY threaten the children.”
But DO NOT confuse the two. The potential for it backfiring is real. What we’re demanding is that ORR, which works hand in hand with ICE, “keep better track” of kids they basically would like to deport if giving the chance. We don’t want that!!!
— josie duffy rice (@jduffyrice) May 28, 2018