Flu, Lice, and Open Toilets: What Attorneys Saw at Migrant Child Detention Camp

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"The attorneys said that hundreds of kids are being held in filthy, overcrowded, and increasingly dangerous conditions "

Vice News - June 22, 2019

Attorneys who work with migrant children recently visited two Border Patrol processing centers along the U.S.-Mexico border — and what they saw paints a bleak picture of the Trump administration’s treatment of child migrants.

The attorneys said that hundreds of kids are being held in filthy, overcrowded, and increasingly dangerous conditions at the Border Patrol station in Clint, Texas and the Ursula processing center in McAllen, Texas — often for weeks at a time. The facilities are riddled with flu and lice outbreaks and often lack proper adult supervision. Some older kids even have to take care of the younger ones.

“I have not seen conditions like this before,” said Warren Binford, a law professor at Williamette University and part of the team who went to Clint, Texas. “They [Border Patrol agents] say, ‘We are on your side. Children don’t belong here; they need to get to appropriate facilities because we can’t appropriately care for them here.’”

These Border Patrol stations are temporary processing centers and were never intended to be used as long-term shelter. They’re not equipped with beds or blankets, and the temperatures are often so cold that migrants refer to them as “hieleras" — iceboxes. In fact, federal rules dictate that unaccompanied migrant children who arrive in the U.S. shouldn’t be kept in Border Patrol stations for more than 72 hours. ...
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