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Child advocates say immigration detention conditions are inhumane

In New Jersey and elsewhere across the country, minors are often separated from their parents and other family members when they are placed in the custody of U.S. immigration law officers. An immigration detention center in another state is meant to provide temporary shelter for children until their cases are processed. However, several adults who were recently granted tours of the facility say the kids are being held in droves for as long as six months at a time.

One man who toured the complex said conditions there are inhumane. He described rooms with rows of bunk beds where children (as many as 100 per room) are packed in like sardines to sleep. The facility has detained as many as 250 kids at a time, reportedly allowing them no contact with their parents, except by telephone, a couple times per week for as little as 10 minutes per call.

The atmosphere at the detention facility is said to be quite militaristic. The children's days are strictly regimented and they only get to go outdoors for approximately an hour per day. The education the children are receiving has been described as substandard by several legal and child psychology experts who have visited the facility.

In New Jersey and every other state, there are federal regulations that govern how immigration detention centers housing children are supposed to function. One regulation states that entrances and exits are not to be secured; yet, those who toured the facility in question said it is surrounded by fences and guards. An experienced immigration law attorney can provide guidance and support to any family experiencing legal problems in connection with a detention situation.

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