Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Asylum in the Heart of Texas

Kevin is a 9-year old boy.

His parents originally fled Iran to Canada for political asylum in 1995, where they sought but were denied refugee status. Consequently, the family, which now included Canadian-born Kevin, was deported and returned to Iran, where Kevin's father was subsequently detained, beaten, and tortured over a period of three months. Not the worst treatment in history, but not a party, either.

Kevin's family attempted to return to Canada, but unanticipated events caused their airplane to land in Puerto Rico, and then on U.S. soil. And now the family has been "detained" in the T. Don Hutto Family Detention Center, the United States' kinder, gentler detention center for children families, for four weeks. Human rights groups have called the U.S. government to shut the center down.


About 170 children, including 9-year old Kevin, are currently detained in this former maximum security prison deep in the heart of Texas where they enjoy:
  • An eight-metre-high chain-link fence
  • Uniformed guards
  • Cameras
  • Metal detectors
  • Lasers
  • A single hour of school instruction per day
  • Canned beans
  • 15 minutes per meal
  • Inadequate medical care
  • Lack of privacy
  • 3 head counts per day, which require an hour of cell time apiece
  • Ongoing threat of separation of children and parents
  • Exemption from teacher licensing requirements
  • Exemption from child care licensing requirements
  • Forced separation of parents and children at night
The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.
~Dostoyevsky (1821-81)

Kevin's family is in International Limbo because of the politics of Nationality.

Kevin is waiting for Canada to rescue him.

From the heart of Texas.

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