ACLU alleges abuse at outdoor holding center in El Paso
The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and the ACLU Border Rights Center filed a joint complaint with the Department of Homeland Security calling for an investigation into the treatment of asylum seekers at a makeshift holding pen located under a bridge in El Paso. Detainees allege that they slept on rocky ground in near freezing temperatures, were verbally abused by guards, and a lack of adequate food, water and medical care. They’re also demanding “an immediate end to the caging of immigrants in outdoor holding cells.” The CBP shut down the site overnight. The CBP has responded that they couldn’t handle the influx of asylum seekers and had to make do, but have since moved everyone to the main border patrol station in El Paso. The Texas Monthly has a long story featuring migrants’ experiences since early March, when CBP set up the outdoor pens.
They treated us like we are animals. They call us bodies,” said Carlos, a 31-year-old Honduran man who spent 3 1/2 days being held under the bridge with his wife and two children before being moved to a Border Patrol detention facility in Lordsburg, New Mexico, on Thursday. He showed bruises on his six-year-old son’s legs that he said were caused by sleeping on rocks, and a rash on his five-year-old daughter’s hands that went untreated while they were detained under the bridge. Carlos said he saw pregnant women who appeared to be near full term sleeping on the ground. Parents gave their coats and thin Mylar blankets to their children to try to give them some warmth as they slept outside. Carlos said he slept about three hours total during his time under the bridge.
ACLU staff interviewed a person who said “Border Patrol agents threw out the medication she carried for her four-month-old child and did not provide her with any treatment for her child’s fever. Migrants reported developing fever, nausea, and coughing while being held in this outside area. Yet, these migrants, including infants and children, are also denied medical treatment by Border Patrol agents,” said the complaint, filed by the ACLU of Texas and its Border Rights Center in El Paso.One agent allegedly told a pregnant woman in Spanish, “Why didn’t you have your (expletive) child in your own country? It costs me $25,000 a year to support your (expletive) child,” the complaint said.
The story also notes that last weekend, Trump cut off foreign aid to El Salvador Guatemala and Honduras (which a Fox News banner called “3 Mexican countries”) for failing to prevent migration and threatened to close the Southern border. But of course, you can’t close the border without disrupting all the business, so now the White House is scrambling to figure out whether they can keep it open for trade and manufacturing. And that right there is the core problem with most immigration policy – business can move freely, but human beings can’t.
Read the whole story at Texas Monthly.