A janitor at a detention center saved immigrants' belongings and turned them into art

In 2003, artist Tom Kiefer took a part-time job as a janitor at a Border Patrol facility in Ajo, Arizona. It was just something to subsidize his creative work. But he watched first-hand as things got more crowded, and policies became more cruel. He saw canned food taken away from migrants and donated to a food pantry, then later thrown away entirely, even though it was still good. The same thing happened with water bottles. Then there were the personal possessions deemed "non-essential" — the toothbrushes, rosaries, medication, and toys. Some things — like shoelaces — were thrown away as potential weapons.

So Kiefer began to collect these discarded items and photograph them. He gathered more than 100,000 items over the course of a decade or so, and saved them in his studio to photograph.

He's barely made it through the pile. But now the photographs are on display at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, providing a compassionate insight into migrant lives, and how the things that we discard might matter to some people.

You can learn more in the video, or check out the gallery website below.

 

El Sueño Americano | The American Dream: Photographs by Tom Kiefer at the Skirball Cultural Center Read the rest

A Canadian podcast reveals everything wrong with the Trump administration's migrant baby adoption policy

The US government detained more than 69,000 migrant children last year in the course of its brutal family separation policy. There's no guarantee these kids will ever be reunited with their parents; in fact, some of them have already been put up for "adoption" (read: legalized kidnapping) after their parents were deported. Many of these adoption agencies are of course Christian organizations, who genuinely believe themselves to be acting from a compassionate, altruistic pro-life perspective.

This is not breaking news; nor is it necessarily unique to the Trump administration. But I was reminded of it as I scrolled through Twitter over the weekend:

And for whatever reason, this reminder flagged another connection in the mind: the second season of the "Missing and Murdered" podcast, produced by CBC, the Canadian public broadcasting service.

Also known as "Finding Cleo," the 10-episode second season follows host Connie Walker as she tries to track down the truth about a deceased Cree girl named Cleo. According to Cleo's sister, Christine, all of the siblings in their family were forcefully taken from their First Nations home by Canadian child protective services. Somehow, Cleo ended up being adopted by a white Christian family in the United States until she was allegedly raped and murdered. Read the rest

Florida youth pastor threatened to call ICE on girl and family while coercing girl into sex, say police

A youth pastor threatened to call federal immigration authorities on an underage girl and her family while he was coercing the girl into non-consensual sexual acts, say Florida police. Read the rest