LatinaLista — With Christmas just over two weeks away, toy drives are going into overtime to fulfill the wishes of children.
Safe to say, there will be a large group of children who won't be asking for any new toys but only that Santa brings home their mommy or daddy, or both, who may have been deported by ICE officials.
And then there's another group of children who are with their parents but their wishes aren't for new toys either — all they want for Christmas is to be released from a sanitized version of what can only be described as a concentration camp.
That there are still children being detained at the immigrant detention facility for families in Hutto, Texas is appalling.
That these children will have to spend their Christmas in a former jail is sad â€” sad for them and a sad commentary on this nation's policy towards detaining illegally arrived immigrant parents with children.
The law students at the University of Texas Immigration Law clinic see firsthand the emotional state of the children detained at Hutto since they must visit the facility regularly to help their clients.
Though the students may not be able to speed up the removal of the children and their parents from Hutto, they are doing something to make it a little less sad for the kids â€” they are collecting toys to take inside to give to them.
Law students survey toys collected during the Thanksgiving holidays. From left to right are Marisela Vasquez, Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch, Matt Bohuslav, Cristina Rodriguez, Xochil Rodriguez, Amber VanSchuyer, and Eddie Maraboto, the Immigration Clinic's administrator.
In a special toy drive, the UT law students, with other student law groups, are collecting the new toys to show the children they are not forgotten.
The students plan to deliver the toys on Saturday, December 8. It's the same day that a protest is planned by advocates of the Free the Children of Texas' Hutto Prison.
â€œIt is important to ensure these children have adequate toys, not only to ensure proper development but to make their stay in detention a little more tolerable,â€ said Cristina Rodriguez, a third-year law student in the Immigration Clinic who initiated the toy drive.
â€¦â€œI am pleased that law students have taken this initiative to help children in Hutto,â€ said Professor Barbara Hines, director of the Law Schoolâ€™s Immigration Clinic. â€œI still believe that detention of immigrant children at Hutto is not appropriate.â€
It makes asking the question that has become an iconic cliche especially more poignant during this season:
What Would Jesus Do?
To contribute to the Hutto toy drive, contact Latina Lista for further information.