Yes, I was sure, somewhere over there, in the US, that was my real home. When I finally moved here at 15, all I wanted was to make the shows that went into that box. We hoped our immigration storylines this season would play a similar role in humanizing the immigrant experience to those who see us as subhuman. Maybe I was naive to think this. But I have to believe that stories amount to something. One of them, a mustachioed Hispanic man, seems sincerely proud of his depressing fiefdom. Behind him, a buff white guy echoes his every word, chewing gum, wearing his Oakleys on the back of his balding head.
We exchange knowing glances. The heavy metal door opens with a buzz. The place is huge, like six small prisons in one. Armed guards everywhere, and we look at each other nervously. But this is more like the Maximum Security Prison of our last two seasons, except worse. Clearly, GEO Group uses the same blueprints for its detention centers as it does for its prisons.
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The holding areas are large, bulletproof fish tanks. Inside, tables and benches are bolted to the floor, some with checkerboard tops but no pieces to play with. Individual cells line the walls. Inside, detainees in prison scrubs lay on metal bunks, bored. They turn to look at us as we walk by. Next, we go through the solitary-confinement area. The walls are so thick, they could house Hannibal. Our guides proudly show us the fancy electronic kiosks where detainees can order whatever they please from the commissary list: phone cards, stamps, junk food.
Except that for the people detained here, this kiosk is their lifeline. The large holding room smells like old soup. No pictures. No books. A bird flits across the room. It flew in a few months ago, our mustachioed man says, and the women find it amusing, so they keep it in here. We ask questions. So many questions.
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Do people in detention get an attorney? Can they call their attorney for free? No, but there are phones available. They can refill it at the kiosk. The kiosk always works, except for today. But hey, who needs a lawyer when they have an extensive law library they can use? We visit it.
It consists of a dozen computers loaded only with access to a complicated piece of legal software called LexisNexis. One of our writers is a former attorney and tells us this software is too complicated even for him.maisonducalvet.com/dating-membrilla.php
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He has no idea how a person with no legal training — and who may not speak English — would begin to understand the complicated legalese of our convoluted immigration system. Which explains why not a single computer is in use. We end our tour with one-on-one detainee visits, courtesy of a policy directive that Freedom for Immigrants vehemently advocated for back in Men and women line up to speak with us, asking us to call their mothers, wives, sons.
To help them find an attorney. To help them. We leave with migraines and dry mouths. There are no jokes to hide behind. One of our writers is lactating and hooks up to her pump; the rest of us press our heads against the cold glass of the windows.
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I cry. What we saw there that day inspired an important part of our final season. But it also changed us. For the past seven years, our writers, our cast, and our crew have been immersed in the world of prisons. We should have known immigration detention would be the same. A still from the final season of Orange Is the New Black , set in part in an immigrant detention center. A year passes. So I joined a nonprofit organization that pairs volunteers with unaccompanied minors as they struggle to navigate the American immigration system. After some rigorous training and background checks, I was matched with my first case.
A child I will call V. V was 17 when I met her. Like many before her, V left Guatemala fleeing poverty, desperate for opportunity.
Despite our socioeconomic differences, I see myself when I first arrived at big child eyes full of hope, and in love with the dream of America. My own dream of America soured during my freshman year at Tulane University, while writing a paper for my Latin American studies class. The conflict that ensued was fueled by an oppressive, US-backed military that grew increasingly violent against civilians, especially the indigenous majority who lived in the countryside.
By the time the war ended almost four decades later, , people had died, leaving the country ravaged. Ripe for gangs, narcos, and corruption. The current migration patterns into the US are inextricably linked to this historical context. It had plenty of green, open spaces, and there was even a caged pool. It was also eerily quiet. The children were locked indoors for most of the day, and V was impatient to be released, longing to be reunited with her aunt in Virginia.
But she needed to prove that familial relation before a judge would allow her to leave the facility, and getting birth and death certificates for indigenous people who lived in the remote Guatemalan highlands more than half a century ago is So V had to wait until her 18th birthday, at which point she would either be detained by ICE or released on her own recognizance, meaning she could continue to fight her immigration case from the outside. For the three months leading up to her birthday, I visit V once a week, bringing treats.
Under a shaded canopy, we discuss the merits of Oreos versus Twix. We talk books. She prefers the self-helpy spiritual kind, the kind that tell you if you have a dream and fight hard to achieve it, it will come true. And yet she does, determined to fulfill her destiny. Kids will love arriving at their destination Jetsons-style via Sky Pod elevators some of the fastest in the world which lead to a two-minute video presentation of gorgeous city images on the nd floor. Check out City Pulse on the th floor, showing HD videos featuring notable NYC landmarks and neighborhoods, then daredevil kids and parents can brave the Sky Portal, where a foot wide circular disc provides a view of real-time, high-definition footage of the streets below.
At this way-cool Queens museum, kids can get hands-on with hundreds of interactive exhibits and activities that bring science, technology, engineering and math to life. Kids can also climb on a rope web and play mini golf at the massive Science Playground and Rocket Park. Trust us, this place is worth the trek.
In the short amount of time it takes to reach this former military base, families will be transported to a world a million metaphorical miles away. The kid-centric offerings—made even more perfect by the surrounding Park Slope nabe—are can't miss treats. Learn more here. All ages. The animals who inhabit the Bronx Zoo have no problem climbing on rocks and finding the tallest tree branch to call their own, so you should be able to experience the grounds from new vantage points, too. Thanks to the Bronx Zoo Treetop Adventure, visitors ages 7 and up are treated to a whole new perspective thanks to a zip-lining and a rope adventure course.
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The moment the curtain rises in this gorgeous jewel box theater, kids sense that something truly amazing is about to happen—and it does. The New Vic is beloved for its high-quality productions of entertaining and thought-provoking theater sourced from all over the world, with fantastic stories that feature everything from breathtaking new plays to re-imagined classics and gigantic puppets to breakdancing daredevils. Audiences could be transported to the depths of the ocean, Ancient Rome, the plains of Africa, the circus or maybe even Mars, thanks to artists of every stripe keeping everyone enthralled.
Though parents enjoy nostalgic visits to old-school arcades, kids have an equally hard time parting ways with their favorite pinball machines. The massive set pieces and new technology mix with classic elements like the dancing Santas and wooden soldiers to create an experience nostalgic grandparents and first-time viewers will equally enjoy.
This is a quintessential addition to your list of things to do during the holidays. Otters, seals and penguins take in the sun from the stony cliffs before cooling off or searching for food under the water while sea lions show off amazing behaviors in the aquatheater for special shows. Visitors looking for an experience with more teeth should definitely check out the sharks.
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