Tuesday, April 16, 2019

McAllen April #2 in which Cheri is bitchy,,,

7:30 to 5:30. One half hour break to buy cold waters for the staff and a sandwich to eat in the car.  Get so dehydrated that I drink 3 full bottles of water at the end of the day (followed by more coffee, my comfort drink).

Detainees dropped off early and continuously. Detainees from yesterday didn't get welcoming bags (with tooth brushes and toothpaste, deodorant, comb, etc). Spent some time today making more but still not enough to cover yesterday and today's newcomers.

Few volunteers and two that weren't very helpful. One, working with me in children's clothes (a priority), spent over 15 minutes per kid, letting mom shop and pick through stuff. I explain that there is a long line, which there is, and stick to about 5 minutes, giving them choices and hustling them along. These clothes are only for traveling to family, they just need to fit well enough and be clean. They don't have to match or have princesses on them. She even let them spend time choosing hair ties--I grab 2-3 and hand them over and move on.

We have folks waiting in line and then get another bus or two, and we have to close down the rooms in that hallway, esp the kid clothes, so we can take care of the new arrivals. That means some have stood in line 3 or 4 times without ever getting a chance for clothes. That's why quick turnaround is important. We did a lot today but it never seems quiet enough.

I did take a short break in the adult clothing room, which hadn't had any attention in several days. I closed and locked the door and worked as fast as I could getting men's pants and shirts folded or hung and organized by size. Then women's pants. I had only a little time to work on women's tops--there are still 3 bins piled with clothes I didn't get to. But then, knowing there were people who hadn't yet had a chance to bathe, I opened the door and did as much as  I could on my own, finally announcing that I could help 3 more and then had to work in another area.

When the door was open, an older volunteer would show up with bins of clothes. They weren't sorted or organized. They are supposed to be but she just figured if she had adult clothes they belonged in the adult room. So I could either sort in there or help people but not both....

ok last complaint. As I was preparing to leave late pm, ICE/BP showed up with 3 busetas, each with 15 or so people. As they were being escorted into the building (and I was standing outside, looking for a particular jefe whose keys I needed to return), one agent at one of the busetas said "I'm leaving the doors open to air it out" and laughed; the other agents joined in.

WELL MAYBE IF YOU GAVE THEM CLEAN CLOTHES AND LET THEM SHOWER, YOUR BUSETA WOULD SMELL FINE. What do they do in those centers? Cage them up, give them cold sandwiches for meals, and just watch them and refuse to help in any way? I was outraged. As far as I am concerned, anyone working for ICE is morally bankrupt anyway.

But as they say in Spanish, tomorrow is another day. Some dinner, lots of quiet, and sleep and I'll be set for another round tomorrow. Wish me luck.....

oh and Cheri is definitely censoring herself. There is plenty of swearing under my breath and in my head. Tomorrow I WILL try to train some responsible asylum seekers to help with clothes and sorting.

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