More and more, it is revealed what is happening in detention centers where migrant families are being kept. The way these people have been treated is in violation of international law, and a direct slap in the face to human rights and dignity.

Sometimes, these people have all forms of identification taken away from them during processing, and these documents are not returned. Birth certificates, driver’s licenses, passports, as well as their phones are taken away. Even if they are allowed through to meet with their sponsors, how can we make sure they reach their destination? They are being erased and left to die.

This is not just a Maine issue. It’s a human rights issue. The detention camps are using taxpayer money to profit off of the suffering of human beings. Those who run the camps have the ability to give the detained soap, toothpaste, safe, humane living conditions, but they choose not to. They choose not to accept donations either, although many American citizens (including Mainers) are more than willing to donate mattresses, underwear, toys, and personal hygiene effects. The grand majority of us are against this shameful treatment of undocumented families, but our government refuses to listen.

As a constituent of voting age, I implore those who have been elected by us to represent us to do all you can to hold those responsible for these rights violations accountable. Fight against the Migrant Protection Protocols, which violate international human rights laws by forcing asylum seekers back to perilous circumstances.

And I ask you, what have you been doing? And what do you plan to do? The time to act is now.

Lydia Merrick

Mount Vernon

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