OITNB Mother's Day vs. reality: Family detention

In the season opener of Orange is the New Black, the women of Litchfield get visited by their children in celebration of Mother’s Day. In preparation, all of the women work together to plan a carnival with the limited supplies they have at their disposal. For the most part, the children have fun being with their moms, until they get a small taste of prison life when one of them goes missing, they are locked down, and then they must leave.

In real life, some children don't get to leave at the end of the day. The US Government is currently detaining children with their mothers in Immigration and Customes Enforcement (ICE) facilities while they await the results of their civil immigration proceedings — many of which are asylum cases. The two new, massive detention centers in Karnes City and Dilley, Texas are run by private prison companies the GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), while the smaller one in Berks County, Pennsylvania has been operated by ICE since 2001. This past Mother’s Day, instead of planning a carnival for their children, moms at Karnes organized a fast and work strike to protest having been detained with their children for months on end. 

Though the Department of Homeland Security recently announced some changes to family detention, they will not end the policy of locking up children in family detention camps. A number of politicians and advocates recently called for the complete dismantling of family detention. Currently, moms in the Berks facility have organized a work strike to protest their and their children's detention. Tomorrow, July 11, advocates will hold a concert and protest at the Berks family detention camp to call for an end to all family detention, as part of a week of action to end immigrant detention.