Over 100 migrant children returned to 'horrific' border station

BBC

26th June, 2019 02:32:56 printer

Over 100 migrant children returned to 'horrific' border station

 

More than 100 migrant children have been returned to a Texas border station just a day after being transferred, US border officials say.

About 250 migrant children were moved from the overcrowded centre after lawyers granted access by a judge said the children were "severely neglected".

The top US border official meanwhile has said he is stepping down.

It comes as the number of migrants apprehended at the border surged in May to the highest level since 2006.

Why is the border chief quitting?

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) confirmed that its acting commissioner, John Sanders, would be leaving his role on 5 July.

Mr Sanders announced his resignation in an email to CBP staff, obtained by US media.

"Although I will leave it to you to determine whether I was successful, I can unequivocally say that helping support the amazing men and women of CBP has been the most fulfilling and satisfying opportunity of my career," he wrote.

President Donald Trump plans to name Mark Morgan, acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), to replace Mr Sanders, according to US media.

In an interview with CBS News on Tuesday, Mr Morgan said he does not believe there is a "systemic problem" at detention facilities.

"I just don't agree that it's egregious conditions, like a systemic problem," he said. "Are there issues that we can improve and get better? Absolutely."

How are conditions at the Texas border station?

The New York Times reports the 100 children were transported back to the facility after it made changes to alleviate its overcrowding. They had been held there for weeks.

A lawyer who visited the facility in Clint, just outside El Paso, told the BBC that children were "locked up in horrific cells where there's an open toilet in the middle of the room" where they ate and slept.

"There was nobody taking care of these children... they were not being bathed on a regular basis," Prof Warren Binford of Williamette University in Oregon said.

"Several hundred of the children had been kept in a warehouse that was recently erected on the facility grounds."

"The cells are overcrowded... there's a lice infestation there, there is an influenza outbreak. Children are being locked up in isolation with no adult supervision, who are very, very ill and they're just lying on the ground on mats."

Elora Mukherjee, another lawyer who visited the facility, told CBS News: "They were wearing the same dirty clothing they crossed the border with.

"It is degrading and inhumane and shouldn't be happening in America."


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