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US Unaccompanied migrant children suffer ‘inhumane and cruel experience’ in CBP custody, report alleges

13:36  30 october  2020
13:36  30 october  2020 Source:   washingtonpost.com

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Migrant children kept in Customs and Border Protection custody have faced unsanitary conditions, verbal abuse and threats since In almost all cases described in the reports obtained by Yahoo News, the minors had been held in CBP custody for longer than the legally mandated 72-hour limit before

Barring emergencies, children aren’t supposed to be in Border Patrol custody for more than 72 hours before The length of time migrants are spending in Border Patrol custody (and the conditions there) have The reports about Clint broke at a time when the Trump administration was already playing

After Eduardo, a teenager from Guatemala, and his two younger cousins were detained while crossing into Arizona last year, Border Patrol officials accused him of trafficking the children, he said.

a group of clothes on a bed: Children rest on the floor beneath aluminum-foil blankets at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility in McAllen, Tex., on June 17, 2018 (U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Rio Grande Valley Sector via AP) © CBP/(U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Rio Grande Valley Sector via AP Children rest on the floor beneath aluminum-foil blankets at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility in McAllen, Tex., on June 17, 2018 (U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Rio Grande Valley Sector via AP)

Then 16, he was separated from his cousins and taken into a small room in a detention facility, where an officer threatened to put him in jail for 10 years and send him back to Central America.

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on unaccompanied migrant children and adolescents and human rights, mandating the Advisory Committee to develop a research-based study on the issue arises in the world, and the ways in which human rights are threatened and violated, and makes recommendations for the protection of the

Guatemalan migrant died in a Texas hospital while in US custody on Tuesday. Both of those children were also from Guatemala but arrived with a family member and were in Customs and Border Protection custody , not the care of Health and Human Services, which is tasked with dealing

Then, he said, the officer slapped him across the face.

“My head hurt and it burned for a good while. I thought this country was decent but after this happened, I felt horrible,” said Eduardo, according to a report published on Friday by Americans for Immigrant Justice, a legal nonprofit in Miami. “I would never wish this on another kid that passes through there.”

The 70-page report — “Do My Rights Matter? The Mistreatment of Unaccompanied Children in CBP Custody” — draws upon interviews in 2019 with nearly 9,500 minors, or about 1 in 8 of all those who were apprehended and detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection last year.

Of the children screened, 895 — nearly 1 in 10 — said they had been verbally abused by CBP officers, while 147 said they had been subjected to physical abuse.

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More than half of all children said they stayed in CBP custody longer than three days, in violation of a long-standing legal settlement, and just over 40 percent reported a lack of adequate food or water during their detention. It is unclear if the responses collected by Americans for Immigrant Justice resulted in any formal complaints to CBP.

A spokesperson for the federal agency said in a statement to The Washington Post that its officers are expected to adhere to a lengthy set of standards while interacting with detainees.

“CBP treats those in our custody with dignity and respect and provides multiple avenues to report any misconduct,” the spokesperson said. “We take all allegations seriously and investigate all formal complaints."

Many of the accounts laid out in the AI Justice report — including noisy and crowded facilities, frigid temperatures, and frozen, rotten or otherwise inadequate meals — reflect common complaints by immigration advocates. For years, groups like AI Justice have sounded alarms about CBP facilities along the border, which, depending on their design, have been derided by migrants as “la hielera” (“the icebox”) or “la perrera” (“the dog kennel”) due to the cold, cramped conditions inside.

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The majority of unaccompanied children encountered at the border are apprehended, processed, and initially detained by CBP . Unlike adults or families, though, unaccompanied children cannot be placed into expedited removal proceedings. Children from non-contiguous countries, such as El Salvador

Migrant children play soccer at the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children on Good Friday in Homestead, Florida in April. HHS has cut off reimbursements for non-essential programs at such shelters, citing a budget shortfall. Migrants are loaded onto a bus by U.S. Border Patrol

“This isn’t new,” Jennifer Anzardo Valdes, one of the report’s authors and the director of the children’s legal program at AI Justice, said in an interview with The Post. “We have been documenting CBP abuse for years, and they have done nothing to really change their treatment of the children in the facilities.”

The Trump administration’s past approaches to migrant children sparked fresh outrage this month when legal filings revealed that the parents of more than 500 children separated at the border have yet to be located.

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President Trump has seemingly grown frustrated at the backlash regarding “kids in cages.” During the final presidential debate last week, he pointed out that it was President Barack Obama, not him, who constructed these processing centers and defended how children were treated while inside.

“They are so well taken care of,” he said. “They’re in facilities that were so clean.”

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As The Post’s Nick Miroff reported, the Obama administration did in fact make changes in 2014 to its detention centers — which had been designed for single adult men — to handle an unprecedented number of Central American families crossing the border. But it was Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy four years later that led to the facilities being used to house children separated from their parents, as a way to discourage migrants from crossing the border.

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Images published this week of children and youths sitting in concrete-floored cages in US shelter facilities have stirred outrage. US officials have defended the measures as a way to secure the border and deter illegal entry. “This is a clear violation of human rights and puts children , including those

Several children have died after being taken into federal custody at the border in the past year. Border Patrol facilities are typically migrants ’ first stop in federal custody and usually are air-conditioned, bare-bones cells that are not supposed to hold anyone for more than 72 hours.

Even after that policy was reversed in 2018, six weeks after it was first officially rolled out, unaccompanied minors continued entering the U.S. Last year, more than 76,000 were detained by CBP, a new high.

In its new report, Americans for Immigrant Justice described in their experiences in the facilities as “horrific.”

“Although many of these children come seeking refuge,” the organization’s report said, “they often suffer an inhumane and cruel experience in their first encounter with the U.S. government that leads to further trauma.”

By far the most common complaint among the children screened was that it was too cold inside the detention centers, where they are generally given thin Mylar blankets to keep warm.

One 17-year-old mother from Honduras, referred to in the report only as Elena, said she had been shackled by CBP officers and told that she would never again see her son, who has asthma. When she asked for another blanket for him, they yelled at her, she said, according to the report.

“They didn’t treat me well,” she said. “One of the officers spoke really badly to me whenever I asked him for things.”

A CBP spokesperson said in a statement that facilities are kept at “a reasonable and comfortable range for both detainees and officers,” or somewhere between 68 and 74 degrees Fahrenheit along the U.S.-Mexico border. The spokesperson added that supervisors check the temperature of every cell before every shift, and that officers are banned from using temperature controls “in a punitive manner.”

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A federal court decree maintains that the government can only detain migrant children without their parents for a period of up to 72 hours before passing them on to a network of shelters and foster care. But the new report found that the average stay in CBP custody of children the group interviewed was 10 days, or more than three times the limit.

Migrant parents could face fateful choice: Be separated from their children or stay together in jail

From CBP’s facilities, unaccompanied migrant children are transferred to the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which operates a wide range of shelters and group and foster homes, often with contractors. A tent city in Tornillo, Tex., as well as a massive detention center in Homestead, Fla., both received significant scrutiny from the public in 2019 as they housed thousands of children at a time.

A 17-year-old Nicaraguan, referred to in the report only as Juan, said he was erroneously placed in adult detention centers by officials who insisted he was not a minor and handcuffed him when he tried to confront them about their treatment. Altogether, he spent 58 days in adult detention and waited more than 100 days before being released to a family member in the U.S.

The CBP spokesperson said that “every effort is made to hold detainees for the least amount of time required,” but noted that “logistics and changing demographics” meant that the agency was not able to keep all children in its custody for 72 hours or less.

“However, that is still the goal and the agency, working with partners, is still doing everything it can to move people out of temporary CBP holding facilities,” the statement said.

What if Uncle Sam is responsible? Accountability for abused migrant children .
A recent report in Pediatrics characterized the treatment of children by U.S. border patrol as torture.As a physician, I am legally required to file a report with state child protective services if I have reasonable cause to believe a child has been abused or neglected.

usr: 25
This is interesting!