Dominican Sisters of Adrian: ‘Baby Blankets Behind Bars’

October 5, 2016, Adrian, Michigan – Members of the Adrian Dominican Sisters, as well as Sisters from other communities of Catholic women religious in Michigan, will hold a baby shower on Monday, October 10, 2016 at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Enforcement and Removal Operations Field Office, 333 Mt. Elliott Street in Detroit. The baby shower will highlight the continued detention of immigrant infants and children by the DHS.

Participants are asked to bring a baby shower balloon, signs, and baby supplies which will be symbolically delivered to the ICE Office. The supplies will later be donated to a local shelter.

This local action is part of a national movement, “Diapers in Detention,” to hold baby showers at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Field Offices, local jails and detention centers across the country, drawing attention to the scandalous practice by ICE of incarcerating children and mothers fleeing violence in their home countries.

“Can you Imagine spending a month or so in an arduous search for safety in a new country as an infant or small child, then ending up in jail, stripped of possessions like a favorite blanket or pacifier?” asked Sister Karen Donahue, a Sister of Mercy and one of the organizers of the event.

Family detention is the systematic incarceration of asylum-seeking mothers and children, mostly from Central America. Currently, three facilities – in Berks County, Pennsylvania, and in Karnes City and Dilley, Texas – serve as “baby jails.” They feature prison-like portable units equipped with several bunk beds, heavy iron doors, fencing.

In 2014, the average age of the total population in family detention was six years old. Recently, ever-younger children are being detained with their families, with many children under 18 month being held in the Texas facilities.