First Photos from Inside Facilities for Illegal Immigrant Children Shatter Establishment Media Narrative


You’ve all seen the fake pictures of how children separated from their parents are detained in America — you know, locked in cages and treated like dogs at a shelter.

Of course, those pictures are mostly from the Obama era during the migrant crisis or are faked, but shhh. Don’t let facts get in the way of a good tweet (or rant in the press room).

So, how are children treated when they’re removed from their parents? Well, reporters found out, courtesy of a tour of one of the facilities in which they’re housed, the Southwest Key Programs residential center in El Cajon, California, which operates under contract with the Department of Health and Human Services.

According to Breitbart, whose reporters were allowed on a tour of the facility Friday along with other media, El Cajon is decidedly “not a ‘cage.’ It is a comfortable facility providing lodging, meals, clothing, medical care, education, recreation, counseling, and other services.”

“The facility is located on a main street in a quiet, suburban neighborhood. It has 65 beds, occupied by boys ages 6 to 17. The rooms are spare, with three to four beds in each; the boys are responsible for cleaning the rooms and making their own beds. There is an outdoor recreation area with picnic tables and a small soccer pitch.”

Walls Closing In on FBI as Agency Has One Day to Turn Over Joe Biden Document - Or Else

The facility’s goal is for the child to leave with a legal guardian. According to Breitbart, most of the children at the facility arrived at the border without adults, while only 10 percent were separated from adults who were arrested when they illegally crossed the border.

Here’s video of the facility. (Note: Audio doesn’t come in until near the end):

And here are some photos. Like the video, they were provided by the HHS.

It’s all maybe a bit dorm-room spartan, but it’s certainly not cages or anything approximating jail.

Southwest Key didn’t allow journalists to take any photographs or videos of the programs or the care the children receive. However, according to Breitbart, the children are given new clothing and shoes, lessons on hygiene and how to operate conveniences they may not have encountered previously, like toilets and a shower.

Do you think the Trump administration's policies on illegal immigrants are harmful?
'Twilight' Actress Says She Can't Bring 7-Year-Old Son to Target, But Not for the Reason Anyone Would Think

“They have limited access to telephones to call relatives, both in the U.S. and abroad. They receive therapy, both as individuals and in group sessions,” Breitbart noted. “They enjoy field trips to local museums, parks, and the zoo, where they can explore the city beyond the shelter. And they also have social activities, including a recent ‘prom’ for which they dressed up.”

Yet, these are the children that one MSNBC reporter referred to as “incarcerated.” As Breitbart’s Joel B. Pollak pointed out, this “is only true in the same sense that hospital patients, too, are not permitted to leave, for their safety.”

Naturally, not all child detention facilities are going to measure up to the Southwest Key standard aesthetically — there’s a reason the media was brought there, after all. And Democrat lawmakers are having a fine time attracting news cameras to their attempts to visit other child detention facilities. (They’re not as nice as the Southwest Key building, but they’re not the concentration camps liberals are trying to portray them as.)

As Customs and Border Patrol Acting Deputy Commissioner Rob Vitiello told CSN, the mainstream media aren’t giving the full story.

“They have PlayStations. Pool tables. It’s far from a concentration camp and people should be more accurate when they describe what we are trying to accomplish there,” he said.

“They are very well-appointed,”

Overall, it’s important to remember who is fundamentally responsible for these children’s plight. These are children who either crossed the border alone or were brought along while their parents committed a federal crime. In that case, they were suborned into breaking the law by their mother and/or father, likely after a dangerous passage to the border that may have involved human trafficking.

This is a grievous crime, and we don’t seem to have any problem with separating American children from their parent or parents when they’ve committed crimes. Why, exactly, is illegal immigration any different?

Regardless of whether you’re comfortable with this practice, these are not children being held in cages.

The government isn’t acting like Nazis, as MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough claimed. These pictures show a far different reality than has been presented to us thus far — and one that likely won’t get a lot of play on MSNBC in the coming days.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

, , ,
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture