Heartland Alliance runs 9 detention centers for migrant children in the Chicago area. Heartland has been able to build huge political capital as a Humanitarian organization, while doing the dirty work of the federal government to target, incarcerate and exploit migrant children and communities. This is their annual fundraiser Gala, where Heartland and their philanthrocapitalist friends gather to celebrate their white savior accomplishments — all the while disavowing their role in marginalizing, oppressing and extracting profit from poor communities of color.
Come help us ruin their dinner!
Heartland uses their sprawling social services empire as proof they are indispensable to helping poor communities survive in the wake of the receding public sector. In reality, they are a key player in the private-public partnerships that have cynically redefined the public sphere in order to extract maximum profit from Black and Brown communities — from so-called affordable housing to medical care and family services. Their lucrative migrant child prison business is the most obvious and naked example of recasting racist state-sponsored violence and market-driven profit as “service”, “care” and “shelter”. Heartland’s enormous political power is used to normalize the criminalization and detention of migrant children, and leveraged to disinform communities about the realities of the child detention business.
Over 100 child detention centers operate around the US, holding over 12,000 children. All of these facilities are calling themselves a form of “shelter”, and all are gaining increased legitimacy in the wake of Dump’s increased assault on migrant children. Compared to the massive influx “tent camps”, facilities like Heartland’s are supposed to look like a good alternative. But this masks the cycle of so-called “border crises” the US government has been producing, intentionally creating “capacity shortage” by capturing and prosecuting more and more migrants, using overcrowding and miserable conditions as excuses to expand and normalize the detention system. Children have repeatedly been used as an effective leverage in this political game. The solution to the capacity crisis is not more “nicer” prisons. It is an end to the kidnapping and prosecution of migrants.