The news from our immigration detention system keeps coming, and it just keeps getting darker. Here’s a story that the Associated Press broke a few days ago about the conditions in which Customs and Border Protection is holding children. It happened to hit the news cycle smack in the middle of the national debate about whether or not to call such detention facilities “concentration camps.”
Frankly, even if the conditions of detention were pristine—sanitary, humane, comfortable—the policies and practices overall could still meet the definition of a concentration camp system. That said, the degree of suffering, disease, and misery detailed in these reports only serves to reinforce the argument that yes, the U.S. is imprisoning people in concentration camps.
Migrant children held at border describe neglect
Lawyers who interviewed migrant children at a US Customs and Border Protection facility near El Paso, Texas say the children are dirty, don't have enough food or water, and that some were separated from parents or siblings.
Published on Jun 21, 2019
EL PASO, Texas (AP) — A 2-year-old boy locked in detention wants to be held all the time. A few girls, ages 10 to 15, say they’ve been doing their best to feed and soothe the clingy toddler who was handed to them by a guard days ago. 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.
The bleak portrait emerged Thursday [6/20/19] after a legal team interviewed 60 children at the facility near El Paso that has become the latest place where attorneys say young migrants are describing neglect and mistreatment at the hands of the U.S. government.
Data obtained by The Associated Press showed that on Wednesday [6/19/19] 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.
Here’s footage from outside the facility and audio from Warren Binford, one of the lawyers who visited last week to interview the children who are being detained there. Although her work is part of an active case, and so she would normally not speak to the press about her activities, she was so appalled by what she witnessed that she was compelled to go public.
Here’s a transcript of the lawyer’s description in the video:
We are seeing sick children, we are seeing dirty children, we are seeing hungry children, we are seeing children who have been separated from their parents and other family members, children who within the facility are being separated from their siblings which, they need to be with their siblings right now. We are seeing dirty clothes on them. Many of them have not been bathed. Many of them talk about how hungry they are. These children have been falling asleep, some of them during the interviews with us. They have also talked about how dizzy they are, the headaches that they have.
We really have a dire situation because here both because of the unsanitary conditions these children are being kept in, the unhealthy facility that’s being run there that’s not made for children, and the number of children who are being kept there.
This was not a facility that was even on our radar until last week when we found out that children recently have started to be sent there, and then we arrive and we find out that there are over 350 children there when we arrived.
Our children are telling us that there are over 300 children in a single room. If that’s true, which it appears to be, then literally the United States is warehousing children in a Lord of the Flies scenario, and we’ve got to do something about it.