Huckabee opposes immigrant children warehoused for profit

Kevin Rutledge on April 09, 2015
“Nobody would be in favor of seeing children warehoused by the federal government,” said former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee in response to my follow-up question about immigrant children being detained for profit.

I was able to ask Gov. Huckabee a follow-up question about his response to a previous question I asked him in March at the Altoona Pizza Ranch about immigrant children in detention centers run by for-profit prisons.  The event on April 9 was part of NICHE’s “Home School Day at the Capital” at the Airport Holiday Inn.  Lunch was included during a roundtable discussion with Gov. Mike Huckabee, along with “19 kids and counting” reality TV parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar. 

Gov. Huckabee remembered me asking him a question a month ago.

I thanked the governor for coming and said, "I asked you last month about immigrant children in detention centers run by for-profit prisons and sent you more information about it.  They also profit from 34,000 immigrant daily bed detention mandate, and I was just wondering if you’ve done any more thinking about this or what you thought about it?”

His initial response was, “You know, the issue was one that I was not that familiar with and I didn’t fully understand your question at that time.  Nobody would be in favor of seeing children warehoused by the federal government.”

(Our blog titled “Immigrant Detention Quota is News to Candidates” goes into further detail about many candidates that are unware of the 34,000 detention bed quota and role of the private prison industry.)

Gov. Huckabee continued to answer my question about detaining immigrant children in for-profit detention centers by tying the issue to American families with home school children.

“One of the reasons I think we’re all here today is because the most important decisions made for children should be made by mothers and fathers, not by the government, be it the federal, the state, or any government,” Huckabee said, followed by a round of applause.

He appears to be comparing strong American families with strong immigrant families, both making decisions for their own children, without the excessive influence from the federal government.

“Strong families, families where mothers and fathers are able to raise their children, be able to economically provide for their children, be able to teach their children the values that are important to them, and it’s one of the reasons that we’re here today,” he said.

I asked him, “Did you receive the information that I sent to you? There’s more, it goes into detail all about this stuff too, or I could send it to you again or to your staffer, too.”

Gov. Huckabee replied, “I’m happy to always continue to review it. It’s a federal issue that is best served, best answered by strong families.”

Is Gov. Huckabee saying that the issue of immigrants and children being detained in for-profit prisons is a federal issue best answered by strong families?  Is he referring to strong American families, strong immigrant families, or strong families of all types because “nobody would be in favor of seeing children warehoused by the federal government”?

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Kevin Rutledge

Kevin Rutledge AFSC Governing Under the Influence Presidential Campaign Project

Kevin Rutledge is the Grassroots Education Coordinator with AFSC’s Presidential Campaign Project in Iowa.  Kevin has deep family roots in Quaker activism for peace and social justice.  A graduate from Iowa State University in Sociology and Criminal Justice, his previous work includes: United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) organizer, Public Citizen online organizer to overturn Citizens United, U.S. Senator Tom Harkin, and a youth residential treatment facility.  Kevin hopes to one day return to Brazil and live by the beach.

“What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” – Napoleon Hill .