LatinaLista — From the very beginning when news broke of the immigrant detention centers, the one element that united people across ethnic, religious and political lines was the fact that families were being held in jail-like conditions.
Since then, the Department of Homeland Security has tried to downplay the conditions of the detention of immigrant families by making a number of improvements â€” more play time for the children, opportunity to wear “civilian” clothes, etc.
Yet detaining families, in any form, goes against the principles of what the United States has always signified for its citizens and citizens-to-be that the continuing detention of families is deemed unacceptable in this day and age.
The problem is that because the public is not allowed inside these detention facilities it’s been hard to see or hear what life is like in these facilities.
The most infamous family detention facility is located outside Austin, Texas and called the T. Don Hutto facility. It also happens to be the subject of a new film titled The Least of These: Family Detention in America.
â€¦the film explores the government rationale for family detention, conditions at the facility, collateral damage, and the role – and limits – of community activism in bringing change. The film leads viewers to consider how core American rights and values â€“ presumption of innocence, the protection of children, upholding the family structure as the basic unit of civil society, and America as a refuge of last resort â€“ should apply to immigrants, particularly children.
The documentary had its world premiere at the 2009 S X SW film festival. Since then, the film has been screened by social justice organizations, on college campuses and at regional film festivals.
Yet, in a move that illustrates that the filmmakers know that everybody who wants to see the film or should see the film may not be near a screening of it, they have made the film available in its entirety on their website in a free online streaming.
Family detention is an important issue and Latina Lista applauds the filmmakers, Clark and Jesse Lyda, for not just making the film but sharing it with everyone.