Seattle took part in the national “Diapers in Detention” movement Wednesday.
Protesters spoke out against Immigration and Customs Enforcement for detaining babies and children in migrant detention centers, who are seeking asylum.
“It is a shameful thing to do, to put families who are seeking asylum and safety through a private prison system,” said Maria-Jose Soerens, executive director of Puentes, an undocumented immigrant advocacy group. “It is not okay to profit from that, to allow corporations to profit from that, and there are alternatives.”
Protesters hoped to bring awareness to the issue by throwing a “baby shower” outside the ICE offices in downtown Seattle. Thy collected messages from the public about family detention and delivered a baby doll dressed as an inmate to the local office of the Department of Homeland Security.
Sunny Esmizadh, who participated in the event, came to the U.S. from Mexico seeking asylum and spent six months in a detention center before receiving asylee status. Esmizadh was separated from her husband, who was in another detention center, and said six months was far too long in the center’s restrictive conditions.
“It’s more like a prison, because you don’t have any freedom,” Esmizadh said.
Esmizadh said detainees have to wear uniforms, have little contact with the outside world, and were handcuffed when transferred between centers.
There are three family detention centers in the U.S. in Berks County, Pennsylvania and Karnes City and Dilley, Texas. According to Grassroots Leadership, there are 6,300 beds across the three facilities.
Copyright 2016 KING