Lawyers representing children locked up by the Trump administration described “a traumatic and dangerous” situation at a detention facility near the U.S.-Mexico border, the Associated Press reported Thursday.
Lawyers said up to 250 infants, children, and teenagers are being held in unsanitary and horrific conditions and are being fed uncooked frozen food or rice. Some had gone weeks without a bath or access to clean, dry clothes.
In once case, lawyers saw a “2-year-old boy, he wasn’t wearing a diaper and had wet his pants, and his shirt was smeared in mucus.” The toddler was being cared for by three children, aged 10 to 15, who took turns looking after him because no one else was there to do it.
“In my 22 years of doing visits with children in detention I have never heard of this level of inhumanity,” Holly Cooper, an attorney representing detained youth, told the AP. “Seeing our country at this crucible moment where we have forsaken children and failed to see them as human is hopefully a wake up for this country to move toward change.”
Lawyers encountered these conditions even though Border Patrol agents knew they would be inspecting the facility three weeks prior to their visit.
This latest report, based on lawyers’ interviews with 60 of the children held at this detention center, reflects the pattern of abhorrent policies aimed at migrant children.
Border patrol agents are taking medicine away from children. Children are sleeping on dirt and rocks. The Trump administration kept a database to track the menstrual cycle of young girls. More than a dozen infants were locked up in unsanitary conditions. Half a dozen children have died in federal custody. Trump appointees contemplated housing them on top of a toxic waste dump, and Trump officials plan to stop providing education and playtime for kids they locked up.
Trump administration lawyers recently argued in federal court that jailed children don’t even need soap or toothbrushes.
Trump never hid his racist feeling toward non-white immigrants during his 2016 campaign, and his policies since entering the White House are a reflection of his anti-immigrant animus.
Trump may have managed to hit a new level of inhumanity this time, but he shows no signs he will “wake up” or “move toward change.”
Instead, he is ratcheting up the cruelty, announcing his plan to detain and deport millions of immigrants in the near future, ensuring that his abject cruelty toward immigrants — and especially immigrant children — will be his legacy.
Published with permission of The American Independent.
IMAGE: Migrants are seen outside the U.S. Border Patrol McAllen Station in a makeshift encampment in McAllen, Texas, May 15, 2019. Adults and children slept on the ground and rigged up makeshift awnings with reflective blankets to shelter from the sun. REUTERS/Loren Elliott