A shocking video obtained by The Arizona Republic shows migrant children being mercilessly dragged on the floor by detention officials at the now defunct Hacienda del sol detention facility in Arizona. These migrant detention facilities even though privately run, are overseen by the Department of Homeland Security(DHS) meaning this shocking incident will almost definitely be investigated by House Democrats. The original video by The Arizona Republic is available here but the relevant clip is below
Abuse of migrant detainees by detention officials is however nothing new. The root cause of migrant detainee abuse is the unspoken truth that thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court, private migrant detention centers are for all intents and purposes above the law. In other words thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Correctional Servs. Corp. v. Malesko, 534 U.S. 61, 63 (2001), it is virtually impossible for abused migrants to prevail in civil lawsuits against these private prisons, even in cases of egregious abuses like the ones captured in this video. As a matter of fact some have argued that this is precisely why DHS subcontracts migrant detention to these private prisons–that way both DHS and the prisons avoid civil liability for abuses.
It is therefore very important that House Democrats if they decide to investigate this troubling incident, look beyond the specific instances of abuse here and address the root cause of migrant detainee abuse which is that nobody(neither DHS nor the private prisons) is ever held civilly liable for abuses. Unless and until there’s a realization by both DHS and these private prisons that they risk being hit with hefty financial penalties for abusing migrants in their custody, nobody should expect them to treat migrant detainees any better.
Bottom line, House Democrats need to grill DHS secretary about the abuse of migrants at DHS-overseen private detention centers. More importantly, House Democrats need to come up with legislation aimed at forcing these DHS-overseen detention centers to compensate migrants who can show that their constitutional rights were violated while in custody. Then and only then will these private detention centers start treating detained migrants like human beings. House Democrats must solve the migrant detainee abuse problem to save victims from wasting their time seeking redress at the Roberts Supreme Court, especially now that Kavanaugh is there.
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