Video footage released by the Arizona Republic shows employees at a Southwest Key shelter shoving, dragging, and slapping migrant children in a disturbing glimpse into a now shuttered facility. The security camera videos, obtained via state public-records laws, include a worker pulling a young boy into a room and pushing him against a wall. A second clip shows a different staff member dragging a girl through a doorway in the same room before a second child is hauled through as well.
All videos have been blurred to keep the identities of the children private.
According to the Arizona Republic, the incidents occurred on September 14, 17, and 21. One month later, the Hacienda Del Sol facility in Youngtown, Arizona had its license to operate suspended by the state, although the Republic notes it was unable to confirm whether these incidents were the reason why. The move involved the license suspension of two Southwest Key facilities holding migrant children following threats from the state that they might revoke all 13 of the company’s shelters over insufficient employee vetting.
— azcentral (@azcentral) December 29, 2018
The New York Times reports that Southwest Key has turned the detention of migrant children into a billion dollar business, with the corporation receiving $1.7 billion in federal grants over the past ten years, $620 million of which was locked in over the past year alone. As it has grown, accusations of ‘sloppy management’ escalated into stomach-turning scandals with the Inquisitr reporting an HIV-positive employee was arrested for molesting at least 8 migrant boys over the course of more than a year. Another facility allowed a 6-year old girl separated from her mother to be molested by another boy repeatedly.
The Times says over 14,000 minors are being held across 100 facilities amidst the surge in migrant children being separated from their parents by the Trump Administration. 5,000 of those children are being held in 24 Southwest Key shelters across three states, including one which is a converted Walmart Supercenter. Even after a cry of outrage was raised over the summer of 2018 regarding the practice, numbers have only grown.
This all comes as the Trump Administration is both under fire for the death of migrant children in U.S. Border Patrol custody (read the Inquisitr report here) and doubling down on tougher immigration policies. President Trump has gone so far as to shut the government down over a refusal to include $5 billion in the budget for his border wall, a key campaign promise.
In a tweet regarding the deaths, President Trump placed the blame on “Democrats and their pathetic immigration policies.”