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Monday 11th of November 2019

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Everything We Know About the Inhumane Conditions at Migrant Detention Camps

Tuesday 2nd of July 2019 | North America, United States
New York Magazine
News

The third week in June began with a broad political discussion on whether Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s designation of migrant detention centers as “concentration camps” was the correct nomenclature for holding rooms in which 41 detainees live in a cell built for eight. It ended with heinous reports of the conditions at said camps, where undocumented migrant children are being held away from their families in conditions “worse than jail,” according to physician Dolly Lucio Sevier, who wrote up a medical declaration obtained by ABC News after visiting Border Patrol holding facilities along the border in Texas. Here’s everything we know about conditions in the detention camps.

Conditions in a McAllen, Texas Facility “Could Be Compared to Torture Facilities”

Sevier, a private-practice physician in the Rio Grande Valley, was granted access to a facility in McAllen, Texas, after attorneys discovered a flu outbreak that sent five infants to a neonatal intensive-care unit. At the detention center — the largest such Border Patrol facility in the country — Sevier examined 39 children under the age of 18 facing conditions including “extreme cold temperatures, lights on 24 hours a day, no adequate access to medical care, basic sanitation, water, or adequate food.” All 39 exhibited signs of trauma.

Sevier told ABC News that the teenagers she observed were not able to wash their hands while in custody, which she called “tantamount to intentionally causing the spread of disease.” Teen mothers in custody described to her not being able to clean their children’s bottles: “To deny parents the ability to wash their infant’s bottles is unconscionable and could be considered intentional mental and emotional abuse,” Sevier wrote. In summary, she determined that “the conditions within which they are held could be compared to torture facilities.”

Children “Had to Sleep on the Floor … as Punishment for Losing the Comb”

Outside of El Paso, attorney and children’s-rights advocate Warren Binford gained access to a Border Patrol facility where 351 migrant children were detained; over 100 were under 13, and the youngest was just over 4 months. Binford reported that many of the kids had been held for three weeks or longer, and that guards had created a “child boss” who was rationed extra food in an attempt to control the other children. Binford told The New Yorker about the Clint, Texas facility’s treatment of a lice outbreak.

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