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The Least of These 

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To the list of bizarre, wasteful and cruel failures of the Department of Homeland Security under the Bush Administration, add this program to imprison children. The Least of These follows the Kafkaesque situation of illegal immigrant families in Texas beginning in 2006 when the government switched from a "catch and release" approach to undocumented immigrants to incarcerating them. Some of the detainees in the film are Iranian-descended Canadian citizens, others are Central American, and most are seeking political asylum on grounds outlined and accepted by the U.S. government. Outside Austin, in Taylor, Texas, the Don T. Hutto facility followed a prison model to detain families with young children. Hutto forced mothers to feed multiple children in a 15-minute meal time before returning to their cells, and placed family groups into tiny cells with an unshielded toilet in the corner. The ACLU sued on behalf of the families, claiming the contractor had never complied with applicable Federal law governing detention of children. (Justifications provided by FOX talking head Bill O'Reilly and then White House spokesman Tony Snow are too pathetic to be funny.) Regardless of the merits of criminalizing illegal immigration, it's hard to undertand the disregard for the human rights of detained children. This film asks to what extent Uncle Sam will punish kids for the sins of their parents, even if that sin is wanting to be an American. It is presented by the Patois International Human Rights Film Festival. — Will Coviello

3 p.m. Sat. March 28

Zeitgeist Multi-disciplinary Arts Center, 1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., 827-5858; www.patoisfilmfest.org

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