Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Life Issues > Children > Special Toy Drive Underway For Children Locked Up in Immigrant Detention

Special Toy Drive Underway For Children Locked Up in Immigrant Detention

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.
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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 — 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 — 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.

“It 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,” said Cristina Rodriguez, a third-year law student in the Immigration Clinic who initiated the toy drive.
…“I am pleased that law students have taken this initiative to help children in Hutto,” said Professor Barbara Hines, director of the Law School’s Immigration Clinic. “I still believe that detention of immigrant children at Hutto is not appropriate.”

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.



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  • Frank
    December 6, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    Marisa, I commend the students for their toy drive for these kids. But I have a question for you about them being in the detention center. What would you do with them while their parents are being detained? You don’t think it better for them to remain with their parents as a family rather than to be put in foster homes with strangers or worse?

  • Marisa
    December 6, 2007 at 6:21 pm

    Valid point Frank. We have to remember that these families are non-Mexican, who are subject to automatic deportations unless there’s a question about their individual case.
    Most of these families are waiting to hear the outcomes of asylum requests which are known for taking a long time.
    Just like we electronically monitor inmates who are under house arrest, the same can be applied to the adults in these cases.
    The bottom line, as I see it, is that these children don’t need to go through this trauma – some of them are way too young to be locked up like this.
    If ever there was a call to be more humanitarian in dealing with this issue, it’s here.

  • flower
    December 6, 2007 at 9:20 pm

    Despues de escuchar, leer y ver las difamaciones contra los immigrantes solo queda un camino que es la via legal. demandarlos por difamacion y violencia verbal.
    Este senor Marcos gutierrez ( esta haciendo un proyecto llamado Agora Media que consiste en DEMANDAR legalmente a Michael Salvage, Tancredo y otros antiimgrantes que vilmente hablan mal de la comunidad latina. El es locutor de la radio 10:10am (hecho en california) y se ve que realmente quiere ayudar a la comunidad juntando abogados y demandando para que les cueste dinero a toda persona que quiera denigrar al immigrante. Es parecido a los judios, donde se unieron y si alguien habla mal de ellos inmediatamente lo enjuician. Ya basta ya de ofender a la comunidad latina, levantemos la cara y luchemos por nuestra dignidad y respeto, asi como hicieron los judios.
    Puesto que esto requiere dinero, estan aceptando enviar cheques, money orders dirigidos a:
    Agora Media
    La direccion es:
    695 5th #9
    San Francisco, CA. 94107
    Este dinero sera para aperturar una organizacion no lucrativa y demandar a estas personas (ya se cuenta con abogado dispuesto a iniciar este proceso legal)

  • Frank
    December 7, 2007 at 7:13 am

    Marisa, I don’t know why the monitoring system isn’t used. It certainly would be much cheaper than housing these people.
    The only thing is, since they are here illegally how would they work to support their families on the outside? Unless there is a work program that our government could use for them.
    Hmmm, food for thought.

  • Flor
    December 7, 2007 at 10:01 am

    Excelente iniciativa, y es momento de denunciar y demandar a estos elementos que no hacen sino confundir a la opinion publica y empeorar la situacion. Este congresista republicano de Colorado continuamente conecta a los “ilegales” con “terroristas” y “delincuentes”. Su discurso es similar al utilizado contra los judios en la Alemania Nazi, dice que la “identidad americana” esta en riesgo a causa de la “cultura latina”, que los latinos estan cambiando los datos “demograficos” y que el “español” debe de prohibirse. Y lo que es peor, estos mensajes estan haciendo que aparezcan grupos antiinmigracionistas y antihispanos que ya suman 300 en todo el pais.
    Estos grupos estan atacando la dignidad de los niños. Se refieren a los hijos de ilegales nacidos en USA con “odio”, ya no los llaman “niños”, sino que los llaman “anclas” o “anchor babies”, y por este motivo, estan proponiendo que la constitucion se cambie.
    Estos mensajes tienen que parar antes que sea demasiado tarde!

  • Frank
    December 7, 2007 at 3:40 pm

    flor, I noticed in your first remarks under another topic that you posted in English. Are you switching to Spanish now so that us non-Spanish speakers can’t read what you are saying? What do you have to hide? You are aware that we can get your remarks translated, don’t you?

  • Publius
    December 7, 2007 at 7:23 pm

    “Just like we electronically monitor inmates who are under house arrest, the same can be applied to the adults in these cases.”
    Maybe because they can’t be trusted to keep their monitoring divices on. Catch and release proved a failure, so why should monitoring work any better In the past, few illegal aliens showed up after promising to to attend future hearings. Most petitioners for asylum are denied, and they recognize this. They are only using their claims as a dilatory tactic, in the remote hope of being the exception. They really have no incentive to keep their word, and if monitored, have no reason to play the game in an honest way. Lastly, there just aren’t enough ICE to pursue those who would remove their monitoring devices and disappear into the general populace. These people would soon come to this realiztion and act as before, when catch and release was the policy.

  • miguel
    December 8, 2007 at 12:18 pm

    frank wrote: Are you switching to Spanish now so that us non-Spanish speakers can’t read what you are saying?
    frank, el uso de español tiene validez en un foro latino.

  • Horace
    December 8, 2007 at 5:55 pm

    Miguel said: Frank, the use of Spanish has validity in a Latin forum. Marisa pulls the strings and Miguel speaks.
    Use the translation web site at want to follow along:

  • Frank
    December 8, 2007 at 10:08 pm

    I understand that miguel but flor started out posting her remarks in English and I just wondered why the switch. Marisa has chosen to post her blog in English.

  • miguel
    December 9, 2007 at 9:53 am

    horace wrote:Marisa pulls the strings and Miguel speaks.
    miguel answered frank and horace spoke. Who pulled your chain horace?
    notice the date below… en español

  • Evelyn
    December 10, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    Frank, I think Flor is exercising one of the rights afforded her by our constitution. You know, freedom of choice. If you or anyone else has a problem with that you can also exercise your right to choose which articles to read, and which forums to join, just like you have CHOSEN defiance toward learning Spanish, which is the second most widely used language in the U.S., and the most widely-used on this continent.

  • Frank
    December 10, 2007 at 4:34 pm

    Evelyn, I understand her right/freedom to post in any language she chooses. I was just wondering why she started out posting in English and then switched to Spanish, that’s all. I took it to mean that she didn’t like certain people reading her posts and therefore could say things in her language that we can’t understand. It is just my opinion on the matter.
    Why would you use the word “defiance” about whether or not anyone wants to learn Spanish or any other language? I have my reasons but one isn’t defiance. Our national language is English and immigrants are assimilating to our language as they should be, so why would I need to learn Spanish?
    I think you are wrong about Spanish being the most widely used language on this continent. Could you provide proof of that?

  • miguel
    December 10, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    Languages (spoken at home)
    English: 70.7%
    French: 22.7%
    Spanish: 0.3% (2001)4
    English: 82.1%
    Spanish: 10.7%
    French: 0.8% (2000)5
    US has slightly more English speakers, and 35.7 times more Spanish speakers. Canada has 28.4 times more French speakers. All per capita.
    Only US and Canada shown.

  • charles
    December 14, 2007 at 1:07 pm

    Just as Flor is exercising her constitutional right to speak whatever language she wants, Frank is exercising his constitutionally protected right to say whatever racist crap he wants.
    As a non-Spanish speaker I still think speaking Spanish is more American than speaking Racist.

  • Frank
    December 14, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    Speaking racist? WTH are you talking about? If you are going to insult people and make accusations of them at least have the guts to explain what you are talking about.
    I never said that anyone COULDN’T speak Spanish or any other langauge if they wanted too. I just asked a simple question.

  • karolyne
    December 25, 2007 at 6:18 pm

    i think people should be given a chance to work to live to be a partof our country after all i have seen so many latino people suceed in this country that if we stop them fromcomming im afraid our country will go broke because there is no one that will want to work. as you know we have alot of welfare recepitants and they cant be illegals because that cant recieve goverenment assistance without a ss# so go figure it out. i say COME ONE COME ALL . you are all welcome at my house and at my table just as jesus and god have said..

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