Government Removes Migrant Children From Detention Facility After Reports of Dire Conditions

25 Juin, 2019, 19:29 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • The U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Clint Texas is seen in this undated image from Google Maps

Almost 250 migrant children have been relocated to children's shelters from an overcrowded Texas border patrol station where attorneys said they had been held for weeks in dirty conditions without adequate food and water.

Just 30 children remained at the facility near El Paso yesterday, according to Elizabeth Lopez-Sandoval, spokeswoman for Representative Veronica Escobar.

It's unclear where all the children have been moved.

"Last week ORR identified shelter space in its network for 249 (unaccompanied children) who were located at the CBP Clint Station facility-these children should now all be in HHS care as of Tuesday, June 25th", HHS spokesperson Evelyn Stauffer said in a statement Monday. "Some kids who were detained for two to three weeks had only one or two opportunities to shower".

"Because of the extreme conditions that we saw there, we were given permission to speak to the media because children are dying on the border in these stations and now we know why", Binford said and stated that she and others got permission to speak to the media from "attorneys in charge of this case", but did not provide details about the case.

Children not sent to the HHS shelters were being moved to a tent facility designed for family detention, Ms Lopez-Sandoval said.

Guards in the facility told Binford they were upset by the conditions, but didn't have the training or resources to take better care of them, she said.

This still image from video shows the entrance of the U.S. Border Patrol station in Clint, Texas.

U.S. law requires children who cross the border without a parent or legal guardian to stay in border patrol's short-term holding facilities for no longer than 72 hours and to be moved to HHS shelters as quickly as possible.

"Lawyers warn that kids are taking care of kids, and there's inadequate food, water and sanitation for the 250 infants, children and teens at the Border Patrol station".

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Detained children lacked adequate food, clean clothes, toothbrushes and showers and some children slept on concrete floors, they said.

"We are hearing that many of them are not sleeping", Binford said.

"No one would argue that this is secure and sanitary, safe and sanitary - at least I don't think you're arguing that, are you?"

Some well-known Americans who were held captive under extreme conditions weighed in on Twitter to contrast the treatment they received with the plight of the migrant children.

Michael Scott Moore, who was held hostage by Somali pirates for three years, tweeted "Somali pirates gave me toothpaste & soap".

US Vice President Mike Pence has since said the Trump administration believes migrant children should have access to soap, toothbrushes and other basic amenities.

Jason Rezaian, who spent 544 days in an Iranian prison, had a similar sentiment.

Government rules call for children to be held by the Border Patrol in their short-term stations for no longer than 72 hours before they are transferred to the custody of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which houses migrant youth in facilities around the country through its Office of Refugee Resettlement while authorities determine if they can be released to relatives or family friends.

She said both the mother and premature baby were caked in dirt.

"There was nobody taking care of these children. they were not being bathed on a regular basis", Professor Warren Binford of Williamette University in OR told the BBC after visiting the Clint facility in Texas.


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