A trio of immigration advocacy groups wrote to the federal government this week with information that at least nine infants under the age of one year are being held at a Texas immigrant detention center in ICE custody, according to CBS News — and one child is just five months old.
The letter — written by the American Immigration Council, the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the Catholic Immigration Network, Inc. — was directed to the Department of Homeland Security's Inspector General and Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and said there has been "an alarming increase in the number of infants" being held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The infants reportedly are being held at the Dilley, Texas, facility without legally required care and have been subjected to "lengthy delays in receiving medical attention and lack of appropriate follow-up treatment," the groups said.
South Texas Family Residential Center is located in a rural town with a population of less than 4,000 and is more than an hour’s drive from San Antonio — the closest “major metropolitan center with facilities equipped to provide specialized medical services,” the letter states.
According to the infants’ mothers, some of the children have lost weight, "are not feeding well due to sudden changes in formula," and “have exhibited behavior and sleep challenges during their ICE detainment.”
Along with the groups’ letter, the complaint included a letter from Physicians for Human Rights, which expressed alarm at the increase in infant detentions at the facility and was directed to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
"Given the inherent harms and health risks of child detention, which are exacerbated (sic) in the case of infants and young children, PHR requests that the government exercise its full discretionary authority to secure the release of these families immediately."