A border patrol processing center with a tweet about child detention 'summer camps.'

U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Flickr TheRickyDavila/Twitter Remix by Samantha Grasso

Internet slams ICE official for calling family detention centers ‘summer camps’

You cannot rebrand ‘jail.’


Samantha Grasso


A senior U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official’s idea of “summer camp” is being picked apart online after he received a proper grilling from Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) about the conditions of family detention centers.

While being questioned at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, ICE official Matthew Albence, head of enforcement and removal operations, said his “best” way to describe the family detention centers housing immigrant children who are still separated from their families would be “a summer camp.”

According to NPR, an estimated 550 children of the original 2,500 separated from their parents under Trump’s zero-tolerance policy have yet to be reunified. Under a deadline set by Judge Dana Sabraw, who set the original family reunification deadlines last month, Trump’s administration has until Thursday to outline their reunification plan for these remaining children. More than 400 of these parents have already been deported from the U.S.

When pressed by Hirono if Albence and other top immigration officials would allow their own children to stay at these “summer camps,” Albence didn’t answer the question, despite having boasted about the 24/7 access to food and water, educational and recreational “opportunities,” an “medical, dental, and mental health opportunities.”

“I think we’re missing the point,” Albence told Hirono. “These individuals are there because they have broken a law…”

Across Twitter, witnesses of Albence’s sideways testimony slammed him for using the term “summer camp” to describe the realities that these children in these facilities face—being forcefully separated from a parent, sometimes without warning, and being forced to deal with the trauma of that separation, and the idea that they may not be able to be reunited with their parents at all.







Several people are calling out Albence’s hypocrisy, asking him (and President Donald Trump) to send his children to these facilities if he thinks they’re so much like “summer camps.”


Last time I checked, summer camps involved several hours of time outdoors, plenty of room to sleep, and the unavoidable end, allowing children to go home. Instead, children at these facilities are only allowed outside two hours a day, are stuck several children to one room, and have no end of their separation in sight.

H/T the Cut

The Daily Dot