The for-profit organizations that house the ever-increasing number of refugee children are woefully inadequate to care for them. Their expertise is adult prisons. Even so, there is no excuse for these children, many who have traveled 2,000 miles, and to be held in filthy, unhealthy facilities far worse than animals. There is no real oversight, and members of Congress and reporters have been barred from these holding cells strewn across the country. Children are in dirty diapers or none at all without adequate food or medical care and no adult supervision. Donald Trump may not be better than this, but our country is far better. It gets worse.
A federal judge has written an order requiring the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) to let health experts into the holding cells where the children are stored. Her order includes every facility in El Paso and the Rio Grande area. The kid prisons charge over $700 a day per child.
Republicans were incensed when Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) called these places “concentration camps.” After all, the Germans intentionally killed people. Yet, when Trump places children in an unsafe facility on cold floors without blankets or medical care, what happens? Children get sick and die. How is that different?
Attorneys asked U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee to not only immediately change the deplorable facilities but also hold Donald Trump in contempt personally. The attorneys represent physicians and child advocates who warned that the Customs and Border Protection facilities were creating “health and hygiene issues,” CNN reported:
‘Children are held for weeks in deplorable conditions, without access to soap, clean water, showers, clean clothing, toilets, toothbrushes, adequate nutrition or adequate sleep. The children, including infants and expectant mothers, are dirty, cold, hungry and sleep-deprived.’
The 1997 Flores Agreement set out the standards required for detaining child refugees. The agreement requires the federal government return “children to their parents, adult relatives or license programs without unnecessary delay.” Judge Gee ruled:
‘The Court has already issued several orders that have set forth in detail what it considers to be violations of the Flores Agreement. Thus, the parties need not use divining tools to extrapolate from those orders what does or does not constitute non-compliance. The Court has made that clear beyond peradventure.’
Gee wrote using italics for emphasis:
‘If 22 years has not been sufficient time for Defendants to refine that plan in a manner consistent with their “concern for the particular vulnerability of minors: and their obligation to maintain facilities that are consistently “safe and sanitary,” “it is imperative that they develop such a comprehensive plan forthwith.”
In the case Flores v. Barr, attorneys described examples of children and teen moms who described “filthy conditions and no clean clothing, not enough appropriate food, and no medical treatment. A 17-year-old told them:
‘I am in a room with dozens of other boys. Some have been as young as 3 or 4 years old. Some cry. Right now, there is a 12-year-old who cries a lot. Others try to comfort him. One of the officers makes fun of those who cry.’
In another instance, a 15-year-old El Salvator girls said:
‘A Border Patrol agent came in our room with a 2-year-old boy and asked us, ‘Who wants to take care of this little boy?’ Another girl said she would take care of him but lost interest after a few hours and so I started taking care of him. … I feed the 2-year-old boy, change his diaper and play with him. He is sick. He has a cough and a runny nose and scabs on his lips.’
Pediatrician Dr. Dolly Lucio Sevier talked to 39 of the children. She called these locations “torture facilities,” a court filing showed:
‘That is, extreme cold temperatures, lights on 24 hours a day, no adequate access to medical care, basic sanitation, water or adequate food. All 39 detainees had no access to hand-washing during their entire time in custody, including no hand-washing available after bathroom use.’
The judge sits on the central district of California federal bench and ruled Friday in spite of Trump’s Attorney General William Barr and additional defendants who asked the court to:
‘…set a schedule for briefing these issues that provides defendants with a full and fair opportunity to respond to the allegations that plaintiffs have lodged against them.’
She gave them until July 12 to:
‘…file a joint status report regarding their mediation efforts and what has been done to address post haste the conditions described.’
In 2015, almost exactly four years earlier, a judge wrote about “…widespread and deplorable conditions in holding cells.” Then, two years ago in 2017 an order documented “unsanitary conditions at certain CBP facilities.”
Gee wrote that the CBP has continued these practices:
‘Plaintiffs claim that CBP has continued to commit many of the same violations years later.’
The federal judge noted she took into consideration the rapid increase in refugees created problems for the CBP, nonetheless, the 1997 agreement made clear that Barr and the other defendants bring her a plan “to place all minors as expeditiously as possible.”
The Clint, Texas location was made available to reporters. However, they could not take any pictures or video inside. Border patrol officers showed them food pallets, toiletries, and kids playing soccer. One CBP source familiar with the site said:
‘Typical. The agency prepped for you guys.’
The Mueller Report Adventures: In Bite-Sizes on this Facebook page. These quick, two-minute reads interpret the report in normal English for busy people. Mueller Bite-Sizes uncovers what is essentially a compelling spy mystery. Interestingly enough, Mueller Bite-Sizes can be read in any order.