Every Year, 400,000 People Are Bought And Sold By The U.S. Government. I Had No Idea.

This video is about something I had no idea was going on: the messed-up way that private companies profit from locking up undocumented immigrants.

It has nothing to do with building a wall or a path to citizenship. It’s about prison companies’ undue influence over how many people we lock up and where we put them. (The scariest sentence in the whole thing is at 0:30.) Regardless of our opinions on immigration, can we all agree there’s something wrong with that picture?

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Our people and our children are not for sale.
Every year over 400,000 people disappear and are bought and sold in the United States.

It's scary. Really scary. You know it's like a really bad nightmare. I want to wake up already. I can't help anymore. I'm missing all my hair, all my teeth. Everything. It's like, it's like you're alone.

Three major corporations lobbied the U.S. government to guarantee their own profit.

We'll be locked up for 19, 18, 19 hours a day.

They wake us up at four in the morning, it's like the same routine every day and, well, most of the time we are just in our room.

This happens everyday on American soil. It's called immigration detention and it's the law. Congress mandates how many immigrants must be locked up at all times, 34,000.

This is an unprecedented mandate for law enforcement, as no other law enforcement agencies have a quota for the number of people that they must keep in jail.

People are traded between for-profit prisons like commodities, isolating them from their families and communities. The Obama administration has detained more people than any other administration in history and you're paying for it. Five billion taxpayer dollars per year.

It's like really frustrating to be in jail and not know nothing about your kids, your family.

We're very scared. We're very worried because we don't have a way for connect with another person.

I would like the people to help, you know, to listen to us. We're humans. We deserve to be with our kids, our families because everyone is suffering right now. I would like to be with my babies and tell them that there's another way of life. I'm praying for another opportunity.

You and I as citizens have the obligation to shape the debates of our time, not only with the votes we cast but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideas.

There may be small errors in this transcript.

This video was produced by CIVIC (Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement) and was sent to me by Annie Escobar of Awake Storytelling, who was also involved in the production. To learn more about the quota and immigration detention, visit CIVIC’s website. If you agree that there’s something seriously wrong with this picture, sign CIVIC’s petition to #EndTheQuota. Thumbnail image via Thinkstock.

Jul 16, 2014

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