Taxpayers deserve to know how their money is spent on child detention centers

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It was only four months into my job at a shelter for child migrants that I decided to quit. Three siblings had just arrived to the center after being separated from their parents at the border and mistakenly understood from another care worker that their parents were dead. The children were understandably distraught, but my manager told me I needed to separate them. “They can’t hug,” he said.

This was at a shelter run by Southwest Key, a nonprofit which received $458 million in funding from our government to safely house and care for migrant children.

Join me in demanding that CEO Juan Sanchez testify before Congress about how the organization uses government funds.

Children in Southwest facilities have had crucial healthcare delayed, and been repeatedly belittled by staff members. When we put the kids to bed each night, crying echoed through each room.

The CEO Juan Sanchez is paid $1.5 million a year, one of the highest salaries for a nonprofit of this size while staff members receive $15 an hour and are mostly contractors and seasonal workers without benefits. Yet somehow, Sanchez had the audacity to come to the shelter I worked at asking employees to donate a portion of our pay to a medical fund for the children – for services he apparently refused to pay for. Juan Sanchez sees the kids in his care as dollar signs, not traumatized children.

Southwest houses ten of thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children each year, with millions and millions of taxpayer dollars. That’s an enormous responsibility, once which the organization is failing at. It’s time Southwest Key was held accountable for its actions.

Sign to demand that Juan Sanchez answer these concerns before Congress.



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