DR's Official Statement on Housing Migrant Girls at the San Diego Convention Center

We must recognize that sensational coverage of a “crisis” happening at the border given the number of children seeking asylum, is not recent or even new, but the logical result of profit-driven policies that displace thousands abroad, and the willful neglect and systematic abuse of power by the U.S. government and private corporations benefiting from the imprisonment of migrants and children in detention centers all over the U.S.

 

People all over the world, including these children (mostly girls) and their families, have been and will continue to be displaced due to U.S.-backed neoliberal regimes that subject their populations to savage capitalism, which feeds on the abuses and exploitation of those with less power. Acknowledgment of these root causes and working to halt such economic and military policies would go a longer way than hollow “humanitarian” efforts and accompanying photo ops of local and state officials such as Mayor Todd Gloria welcoming Governor Gavin Newsom recently at the San Diego Convention Center offering platitudes that only deal with the symptoms of capitalist displacement and applaud themselves as they maneuver and position themselves for the next office they have in sight.

 

As the new Vice-Chair of Border Policy in the United States Conference of Mayors, Mayor Gloria inhabits a potentially powerful role and space from which to amplify the voice of border communities and issues plaguing asylum seekers stuck in detention only a few miles down the road in Otay. As a grassroots collective doing work on the ground in accompaniment of compas inside the Otay Mesa Detention Center, we hear of the lack of support from those lavishing in the current media spotlight as humanitarians aiding migrants, and of the urgently needed medical attention inside the Otay Mesa Detention Center, where medical needs are constantly being ignored and human life not being taken seriously.

 

We demand a substantive response to the countless requests for medical attention, to the cries for help inside the Otay Mesa Detention Center on the part of all relevant officials, including County Supervisor Nora Vargas in whose county district the Otay Mesa Detention Center lies.  

 

As Detention Resistance we will continue to listen, document, record, and organize along with detainees to continue to accompany them towards their search for freedom. We are equally concerned that the children being housed in the Convention Center will be subjected to further violence and trauma, and suffer a similar fate to too many of those children wrenched from their families in 2018 and 2019; lost in a bureaucratic system, and forever separated from families and community members’ love and care for them. We welcome the possibility the situation at the Convention Center presents for Mayor Gloria, Governor Newsom, and other local and federal officials to shift their course on migrant detention. However, if elected officials flashing humanitarian credentials are serious, we call on them to visit the Otay Mesa Detention Center and listen to the voices of the countless requests and needs of detainees, which have been lingering in an ongoing crisis situation for years before the recently declared crisis. If negligence continues without action from the Mayor, County Supervisors, and other relevant representatives, those detained will continue to bear the suffering and consequences from lack of accountability on the part of public and private officials alike.

 

We recognize the complexity of the current situation and applaud San Diego officials for stepping up to help. However, we must acknowledge that the system in which the children are now entwined is part of the very same system that created the situation in the first place. Over the last decade, shareholders of corporations that run private prisons and detention centers have made more than $5 billion in profits by putting these same displaced people in cages. Otay Mesa Detention Center, a private prison and detention center run by Core Civic in our own backyard, cages nearly the same number of people that are currently staying at the San Diego Convention Center. This is unacceptable.

 

As we carve a path of placing these young children in more loving community care contexts, let us extend this same effort to current detainees in Otay Mesa, and ultimately shut down these for-profit systems of human caging. Let us all continue to collectively fight for a world in which there is no profit in human suffering. People need to be free and all eyes are on San Diego. Officials must demonstrate the courage to break with the profit-driven chains that also bind them. Detention Resistance will be watching and organizing. Take a stand and join us.