"Children described being held in cold rooms, sleeping on concrete floors, being fed frozen food, and having little or no access to medical care," AI Justice said in its report, which also found hundreds of people Organization interviewed children were subjected to verbal abuse by officers. Almost 150 others said they were physically attacked. But children also described that they were cruelly denied the necessary basic needs.
"The worst part was being hungry and not taking a shower, not brushing our teeth and not getting changed," Teresa, who was from El Salvador, told lawyers. Recall that last year a court had to unanimously inform the federal government that imprisoned children actually need toothbrushes and soap. "We couldn't call our families either," Teresa continued. "I only spoke to them twice at the beginning."
Katty, originally from Honduras, told AI Justice: "(t) The worst part was having to sleep on the floor with the cold." For years, imprisoned migrants and their supporters have referred to border facilities as Hielerasor cool boxes because they can be so freezing cold. "The most common complaint was that the border fortifications are kept in freezing temperatures, which make the children cold and uncomfortable," the report said.
“I was scared then; (the experience) asked me why I came (to the US), ”Letitia, also from Honduras, said in the report. On request from lawyers AI Justice, what they would tell CBP or the federal government about their treatment, many of the kids said the same thing: to be treated like humans.
"I would ask the government why are you mistreating people in detention centers?" Cesar, originally from Guatemala, said in the report. "People suffer on their journey and then have to come to a place where it is cold or where the food is not good and where children are separated from their mothers." He told proponents that next to him was a boy "who would cry for his mother" after he was separated from her.
"I would tell them that I am a mother to one child and it is very bad for (the officials) to tell mothers that they are going to take their children away," Letitia continued. "They shouldn't take children away from their mothers." Sintia, a 17 year old from Honduras, said, “I would tell you that it is not a place for a child. I would ask them: Are my rights not important or of value while I am incarcerated (in their care)? "
They are important, and the 2020 presidential election is our chance to hold this runaway agency, along with the Immigration and Customs Service (ICE), finally accountable for its abuses. "Congress should suspend any additional funding for CBP in a future budget, "AI Justice said in one of its recommendations," until CBP ensures that existing resources are not misused and allocated to significantly improve detention facilities, medical access and language access . "
We cannot allow the abuse of children on our watch to go unanswered. "We hope this piece will raise their voices as AI Justice continues to advocate fair treatment of immigrant children and families in the US," AI Justice said in the report.