Heartland Alliance runs seven detention centers for migrant children in the Chicago area. These are not “shelters”, they are prisons. Heartland claims to be a Humanitarian organization rescuing children, while in reality they are hired by the federal government to detain the children, investigate their families and extract information that is shared with ICE. This is a lucrative contract for Heartland. Between 2017-2020, Heartland was awarded $97, 689,604 in federal grants to lock up migrant children.
Heartland also raises Millions in donations through their fundraising campaigns. 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 extracting profit from the bodies and lives of immigrant children.
Come help us ruin their dinner!
A short Primer on Migrant Detention:
Chicago is a major hub in the national network of child detention centers, which is a $1.7 Billion industry in 2019. We are ground zero in the fight to end the detention of migrant kids — Heartland is the second largest operator of permanent child detention facilities, in addition to several facilities operated in the metro region by the Catholic Archdiocese. We are pushing Heartland to END their contract with the federal government and instead to boycott and divest from all forms of cooperation with border enforcement. This would shift the ground in the national struggle to end the detention of migrant children and to abolish ALL forms of incarceration.
Heartland’s enormous political power is used to normalize the 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 14,000 children on any given day. All of these facilities are calling themselves a form of “shelter”, and all are gaining 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 “limited capacity” as excuses to expand detention. Children have repeatedly been used as pawns in this political game. The solution to the capacity crisis is not “nicer” prisons. It is an end to migrant detention and the policies that make it possible in the first place.