A team of lawyers inspecting a Border Patrol facility near El Paso, Texas, found hundreds of children—more than two dozen of them sick, some separated from their families, and all without adequate food, drinking water, and sanitation—neglected by the federal government. “Data obtained by The Associated Press showed that on Wednesday there were three infants in the station, all with their teen mothers, along with a 1-year-old, two 2-year-olds and a 3-year-old. There are dozens more under 12. Fifteen have the flu, and 10 more are quarantined.”
Including jailed children forced to take care of other jailed children. Three girls said they were trying to watch over a 2-year-old boy “who had wet his pants and no diaper and was wearing a mucus-smeared shirt when the legal team encountered him.” Others said they’d gone weeks without being able to take a bath or even change their clothes. Weeks, when under the law, Border Patrol is not supposed to be detaining them longer than 72 hours.
Trump administration officials were just in court arguing that they shouldn’t have to provide so much as soap and toothbrushes to jailed children. This, this is how and why they keep dying in U.S. custody. “In my 22 years of doing visits with children in detention,” said Holly Cooper of the University of California, Davis’ Immigration Law Clinic, “I have never heard of this level of inhumanity.”
Attorneys said as many 250 kids were being jailed at this site, and they interviewed 60. The three girls said the 2-year-old boy had been handed off to them by a Border Patrol agent, who went into their room and asked, “Who wants to take care of this little boy?” This should be the job of a trained child welfare expert—an adult, for crying out loud—and the agent tossed this child to other children.
”Law professor Warren Binford, who is helping interview the children, said she couldn’t learn anything about the toddler, not even where he’s from or who his family is. He is not speaking.” Attorneys said other kids there had been separated from their families. How is this happening, if the Trump administration is under court order to stop this policy? Because their guardians were aunts and uncles, and the government doesn’t consider that an authentic family.
It was barely last week when attorneys said they’d found that Border Patrol had been illegally jailing a sick, prematurely born one-month-old infant and her 17-year-old mother for days. The baby had been wrapped in a sweatshirt and was reportedly “weak and listless.” They were removed from the facility only because attorneys found them and then advocated for them. But there are still more kids being jailed in places where kids should never be even for a day. This is how and why they keep dying in U.S. custody.