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Early this morning, people all over Des Moines, Iowa woke up to a terrifying sight. Children huddled in a dozen small, chain-link cages set up outside of several of the Iowa caucus locations.
The hunkered-down children were not real, but part of an installation set up by the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (or RAICES, as it is commonly referred to), to remind voters of the near 70,000 children that have been detained by the U.S. government over the past year ahead of tonight’s caucus.
“Today caucus-goers in Iowa woke up to more than a dozen kids in cages all over the city of Des Moines,” the post read. “We came to remind people that this remains a reality & that the issue cannot be pushed under the rug. #DontLookAway this is a humanitarian crisis. #IowaCaucus”
Today caucus-goers in Iowa woke up to more than a dozen kids in cages all over the city of Des Moines.— RAICES (@RAICESTEXAS) February 3, 2020
We came to remind people that this remains a reality & that the issue cannot be pushed under the rug.
🚨 #DontLookAway this is a humanitarian crisis.🚨#IowaCaucus pic.twitter.com/munyjrXdIS
“This is the scene this morning at #IowaCaucuses sites in Des Moines,” user @pragmactivist wrote. “The sounds are real recordings from real kids locked in real cages in real concentration camps that exist in America today.”
This is the scene this morning at #IowaCaucuses sites in Des Moines. The sounds are real recordings from real kids locked in real cages in real concentration camps that exist in America today.— Adam Greenberg 🔥🍑 (@pragmactivist) February 3, 2020
ALL candidates must adopt the https://t.co/kXkbYEOnJ5#DontLookAway. #NeverAgain pic.twitter.com/aRjhE3P4du
“Trump wants us to forget that there are still children in cages. Thank you, @raicestexas, for reminding us all that there are more than 41,000 people in immigration detention right now,” Reshma Saujani, author and CEO of Girls Who Code, wrote.
Trump wants us to forget that there are still children in cages. Thank you, @raicestexas, for reminding us all that there are more than 41,000 people in immigration detention right now. #DontLookAway pic.twitter.com/Fant4R55Py— Reshma Saujani (@reshmasaujani) February 3, 2020
Erika Andiola, chief advocacy officer for RAICES, spoke to Teen Vogue Sunday to explain the purpose of the installation.
“We’re hoping that people can see this and be reminded,” Andiola told Teen Vogue. “As voters are walking by, ready to go caucus in the evening, [we hope] that they are reminded.”
According to RAICES, police officers had removed all of the cages within a few hours.
“One of the things that has been really troubling for us is seeing that immigration has not even been an issue in the last two [Democratic] debates,” Andiola told Teen Vogue. “So, for us, we want to really remind voters, we want to remind America that this is still an issue, that kids are still in cages, that there’s still people right now who are in detention centers who are in the other side of the border in Mexico waiting for their asylum case to be heard.”
We’ve reached out to RAICES.
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H/T Teen Vogue
Collyn Burke is a senior journalism student at the University of Texas at Austin interning for the Daily Dot's editorial team and Two Girls One Podcast. Her work has previously appeared in the Daily Texan and the Texas Observer.