By Mark F. Gray, Special to the AFRO, firstname.lastname@example.org
District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser and Ward 4 Council member Brandon Todd are on the political front line standing against President Donald J. Trump, whose assault on immigration is spilling into the nation’s capital.
The Trump administration reportedly awarded a contract to Dynamic Service Solutions, a company based in Oxon Hill, Md., at the National Harbor. This would be the company’s first time operating a migrant detention facility amid reports continue to surface about the unsanitary and inhumane conditions where captives are living in those facilities around the country.
Hours after the news broke regarding, what some call, the plans for a modern concentration camp, Mayor Bowser initiated the District’s pushback by stating she would not allow the center to open.
“We have no intention of accepting a new federal facility, least of all one that detains and dehumanizes migrant children,” Bowser said in a public statement. “Washington, D.C. will not be complicit in the inhumane practice of detaining migrant children in warehouses.”
Meanwhile, the Ward 4 Council member expressed his concerns against the federal government’s attempt to shelter unaccompanied migrant children in the District of Columbia. Todd used his Twitter account to let his constituents know he would not support the prospect for the facility in their backyard. D.C. and northern Virginia have unofficially bonded on their vehemence not to host the facilities, which have separated migrant families.
“We are going to bring 200 migrant children to a sheltered facility?” questioned Todd in his social media post. “That’s absurd, it really is. I wouldn’t support it even if it was 10 children. This isn’t how you treat humans.”
Reportedly, Dynamic Service Solutions (DSS) was awarded a $20.5 million contract by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to operate a 200-bed District facility for kids ages 12 to 17 with nine employees on staff. DSS recently posted six more job openings in D.C. for bilingual nurses, teachers, and youth care workers.
There is one posting for a “lead teacher” position requiring the instructor to meet the Office of Refugee Resettlement guidelines. Those guidelines mandate that “each unaccompanied alien child must receive a minimum of six hours of structured education Monday through Friday, throughout the entire year in basic academic areas.”
Since 2010, DSS has provided engineering, technology and professional services to the “Federal Government and Commercial Markets,” according to the company’s website. However, there is no mention of their expertise in maintenance or operation of detention facilities.
DHHS claims these detainees – who were caught apprehended alone, unlike migrant children separated from their families – have beds, will have access to meals, legal services, games and classes. The government has been outsourcing shelter and care for the detention of unaccompanied minors in the United States since Trump’s policy was initiated.