Just A Defense Contractor Storing Migrant Kids In An Office Park. Is That Strange?
A major defense contractor with a sideline business in flying migrant kids to baby jails around the country appears to have been using a vacant office building in Phoenix to house children, even though the building is not zoned for residential use or as a childcare facility, according to a story by Reveal, from The Center for Investigative Reporting. Isn't it amazing what Private Enterprise can accomplish with assets it has on hand and a few creative readings of the "law"?
Needless to say, the defense contractor, MVM Inc., denies that it's in the business of housing kids at all, despite video taken by a woman whose house is next to the office building showing white vans arriving and children of various ages being escorted inside. It's not known whether all the kids had been taken from their parents, but some sure don't look like they crossed Mexico as unaccompanied minors, like the little girl being carried by an adult. Here's the video, taken by neighbor Lianna Dunlap:
"There's been times where I drive by and I just start crying because, you know, it's right behind my house," said Dunlap, her voice wavering. "I don't know and I think that's the worst part – not knowing what's actually going on in there and just hoping that they're OK."
Dunlap and other neighbors told Reveal the kids began arriving at the building shortly after the Trump administration announced its family separation policy. They never saw children being taken out to play during the three weeks the office building was in use. On June 22, two days after Donald Trump signed his executive order pretending to overturn the policy he'd initiated, the neighbors say they "saw five unmarked white vans that hold about 12 passengers each pull up to take children away."
When the reporters first asked NVM what the hell was going on (they may have been more professional than that), a spokesperson repeated that the company doesn't operate any housing for migrant kids. That story shifted, just a little, though:
After learning that neighbors had recorded video of children entering the building, an MVM spokesperson said the building "is not a shelter or a child care facility. … It's a temporary holding place" for children being flown out of the Phoenix airport to other locations.
Asked whether the children were kept there overnight, the spokesperson said the building is intended to hold them for a few hours before flights but was unsure how long children actually ended up staying.
ICE confirmed that it had a contract to shuffle kids around the country with MVM, and said it was perfectly cromulent for the company to "use their office spaces as waiting areas for minors awaiting same-day transportation between U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody and U.S. Health and Human Services custody."
ICE spokesperson Jennifer Elzea also insisted this was all for the Good of the Children, to provide the little alien kids "with a more comfortable and private atmosphere than they might otherwise have at a public transportation hub." That is SO thoughtful of them!
Despite the assurances that the kids were simply hanging out for a few hours at a time, like desperados waiting on a plane, Ms Dunlap said she saw kids go in, but never saw any come out until the mass departure on June 22. This is where Twitter Detectives should ask her if she was awake 24 hours a day, and how does she know kids weren't being ferried off to Sky Harbor every time she went to cash her George Soros checks, huh?
She says she tried to get video of the departure, but this time the workers saw her looking out her window and blocked the view of the building from outside with their vans. Probably to protect the children's identities, don't you know.
That's when Dunlap and her husband, Juan Carlos Larios, confronted the adults, one of whom suggested they could call police. So they did.
Phoenix police Sgt. Vince Lewis, public information officer for the department, told Reveal that when police arrived at the building, "ICE confirmed that it (MVM) was contracted to perform that transport."
Also strange: even after they saw the kindertransport, the neighbors say they've seen additional deliveries of water to the building. Dunlap asked one worker what they're doing in there behind the blacked out windows and was told they were merely "fixing the air conditioning." If that's the case, said Dunlap, she sure hopes the AC was working while the kids were there, since temperatures were above 110 in much of June.
One of Dunlap's partners in the informal citizen surveillance of the building, next door neighbor Kristen Brown, asked another worker what the heck kind of business they were in:
The business of transportation, she was told.
"Transporting what?" Brown asked.
"Humans," the worker replied.
It's probably nothing. Just a temporary place to let kids rest out of the view of prying eyes, and almost certainly not overnight, although those nosy neighbors never saw any kids actually leaving. Besides, show's over, nothing to see, and we're sure the New Cruelty has learned its lesson: No more temporary baby jails with pesky civilian homes nearby.
In an unrelated development, we just made up a rumor that Netflix might do an immigration-themed remake of Hitchcock's Rear Window, and you'll never gonna guess what sunbelt city it's set in. We sure like the theme song, by Tom Waits:
Seriously, what the everloving fuck is America building in here?
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.