"We’re not a detention center," said Juan Sanchez, chief executive of Southwest Key Programs, which runs holding facilities for immigrant children separated from their parents by the Trump administration. "What we operate are shelters that take care of kids," he added. "It’s a big, big difference."
With that, MSNBC's Jacob Soboroff disagrees. "I have been inside a federal prison and county jails," he tweeted yesterday after touring the facility. "This place is called a shelter but these kids are incarcerated."
In deciding who is more truthful, an examination of motives is helpful. Soboroff is a journalist whose only skin in this game is his reportorial conscience. Mr. Sanchez's firm has a federal contract to protect — and overhead is always a capitalistic pain.
Since 2014 Southwest Key has raked in "more than $1.1 billion to shelter unaccompanied minors," reports the Washington Post. In 2015, Sanchez's earnings were $786,222. (His vice-presidential wife's compensation that year was $280,819.) "The following year," continues the Post, "his Southwest Key compensation nearly doubled to $1.48 million.
"Sanchez said the change reflected a retirement contribution rather than a salary increase — recognition of previous years spent working for a low salary and no benefits." You know, just as Taco Bell compensates its front-line workers with a little $1 million something-or-other in honorable recognition of their previous years spent laboring for alms.
The Post's description of the boys' time in the facility sure reads like a prison. They're inside 22 hours a day; one hour outside, for exercise, and an hour of free time. "The boys are allowed to make two phone calls a week. Southwest Key officials said it sometimes takes days — or weeks — for children to reach their parents."
If I were one of these boys, I'd use one of my weekly calls to phone the White House and unload a few Spanish paragraphs of every expletive my teenage mind could conjure.
Meanwhile, Trump's America, whose good God crowns with brotherhood — as long as those brothers have alabaster skin — has joined the ranks of other sociopathic nations whose love of benevolent "shelters" in which the guiltless are incarcerated is unbound.